It is estimated that around 30 people are set to lose their jobs from the comms unit, which will be decided by the end of the month. BBC acting head of press and media Julian Payne told prweek.com/uk that the cuts would lead to ‘a smaller number of shows being promoted’.
Ian Johnson Publicity MD Ian Johnson responded to this by stating: ‘There are some very good people at the BBC, but I think that their hands are tied and I wish that the BBC could see beyond headcount. It smacks of an organisation that doesn’t see the value of PR in the wider battle.’
Johnson added that independent production companies making series for the BBC are now ‘unsure about what level of support in-house PR can offer them’, adding that this may lead to other broadcasters being chosen which can offer more support to shows than the BBC.
Johnson handled BBC show Holby City until the agency was cut, alongside Premier PR, which handled Doctor Who, and Just Williams PR, which handled Casualty.
Both Johnson and Taylor Herring co-founder James Herring have pointed to forthcoming BBC X Factor rival The Voice, which starts next spring, as being a ‘high stakes’ show.
The Voice’s PR is expected to be handled by the in-house team that stands to lose significant numbers through the redundancy programme.
Herring said: ‘There’s almost a chaperoning aftercare role that PR provides to the people on these shows, so I think that programmers will find themselves greatly missing their PR support that they’ve had, and I think they will find themselves disadvantaged against the commercial sector and extremely stretched.’
Mylrea has been acting in the role since former director of comms Ed Williams left during the summer to join Edelman as UK CEO. The role is thought to be the best-paid job in public sector PR.