The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, has offered to meet the £300 million (E345m) annual costs of running the World Service, in an attempted ‘horse trade’ to prevent the Government making it pay the £556 million to fund free TV licences for the over-75s.
As part of UK Government’s programme of cost cuts it is rumoured they intend to make the public broadcaster pick up either the concession costs, or World Service (normally paid for by the Foreign Office), or both.
Thompson’s office apparently argues it makes more sense to pay for World Service as it is a broadcast service whereas the concessions are effectively a Government policy – although the BBC funding DSO is now a dangerous precedent for the broadcaster in this regard.
There are suggestions that the World Service could be funded by some of the profits made by BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, which licenses formats. Last year, Worldwide made an operating profit of £140 million.
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