BBC increases spend on comms and marketing despite cutting costs elsewhere

The BBC increased its spend on marketing and comms by £7.2m in its most recent financial year, amid a cost-cutting drive at the corporation.

BBC Television Centre: pic credit, kuczin/Thinkstock
BBC Television Centre: pic credit, kuczin/Thinkstock

Expenditure on "marketing, audiences and communications" was £86.8m in the year to 31 March 2016, according to the latest BBC Annual Report. That compares with £79.6m in the previous 12-month period.

PRWeek understands that the rise was due to growth in the marketing contract with creative agency Creative Services Red Bee, which works on the corporation’s trails, together with increased spend on off-air marketing. The BBC declined to comment.

The Annual Report said the BBC savings programme Delivering Quality First "remains on tracks" to deliver £700m in annual savings by 31 March 2017, having delivered savings of £621m by the end of March 2016. It plans to save £800m by 2022.

The report points to a drop in the amount paid to "talent", with overall spend falling from £208.4m to £200m in the year as the talent headcount fell by 577 to 49,755.

The amount paid out to those on salaries between £1m and £5m fell from £5.1m to £3.8m.

Despite cutting 437 jobs in the year, total staff numbers fell by just 54 as roles were created elsewhere.

The report says: "Following procurement processes we also decided to make savings by bringing in-house some activities such as transactional HR administration and creative services roles which were previously contracted out. Some 175 roles were established or transferred from insourcing and significant financial savings to the BBC will result."

Overall spending at the corporation was £4.09bn in the period, down from £4.3bn in the previous 12 months.

Total licence fee income increased by 0.2 per cent or £8m to £3.74bn due to "improved collection plans and modest household growth".

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