BBC Four and CBBC set to go live only for ‘digital first BBC’

BBC Four and CBBC should stop broadcasting as linear channels and go online only as part of the BBC’s plans to be ‘digital first’.

The company has confirmed that both channels will stop broadcasting in no less than three years, with content continuing to be produced for its BBC iPlayer streaming service.

As part of the reshuffle, the BBC news channels will be merged into one, while Radio 4 Extra will leave the airwaves and exclusively on BBC Sounds.

The BBC said the changes aim to “create a modern, digitally led and streamlined organization that makes the most of license fees and delivers more to the public”.

BBC Headquarters (Credit: Alamy)

The changes will result in cuts of £200m a year, with job losses of up to 1,000 expected over the next few years.

“Now is the time to build a first digital BBC. Something truly new, a Reithian organization for the digital age, a force for good for the UK and the world,” said chief executive Tim Davie.

“Independent, impartial, constantly innovating and at the service of all. A fresh and new global digital media organization that has never been seen before.

“Driven by a desire to improve the lives and society of our license fee payers and customers in every corner of the UK and beyond. They want us to keep the BBC relevant and fight for something that in 2022 is more important than ever. To do this, we need to move faster and embrace the huge changes in the market around us.

BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer CREDIT: Ian Dagnall/Alamy

Earlier this year, the BBC announced plans to scrap license fees in 2027, with fees also frozen for two years. Davie said at the time the freeze would cost the broadcaster £285m.

Addressing cuts to account for flat fees, he said: “We’re going to those cuts first where we don’t affect our production… We’re not where you can never make cuts. , but it will affect our front-line production. There is no doubt about it.

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