Bannister takes axe to marketing team

BBC marketing boss announces over £10m cuts to directorate staff and budgets in major restructure

BBC marketing and communications director Matthew Bannister has announced £10m of cuts to the marketing directorate’s £73m budget and outlined its new structure.

As predicted in Marketing Week last week, Bannister revealed the new structure of the directorate and the extent of the cuts to staff last Friday. The savings are to be made from a mixture of general cuts to promotional and administrative budgets and job losses.

Insiders suggest the cuts could go as high as £18m, though official sources deny this. It has also been predicted that there will be at least 60 job losses from the directorate’s 450 staff. But official sources say no decisions have been taken yet.

It is understood that the directorate will be organised into four groups, representing attitudes or moods of viewers – youth, mainstream, heartland and possibly another for nations. Permanent teams of marketers and researchers will sit in each of the four attitudinal groups.

The remaining floating pool of marketers and researchers are expected to be allocated to projects within each attitudinal group when they come up.

One insider says Bannister’s attempts to impose attitudinal structuring on marketing and communications have led to resistance from service heads, such as head of TV Mark Thompson and head of Radio Jenny Abramsky.

The resulting compromise is leading to confusion and duplication of responsibilities. Each service head has a head of strategic marketing who is empowered to commission work from operational heads.

Marketers have already begun jumping ship – Vanessa Griffith, head of strategic marketing for radio, has gone to Discovery and Jonathan Bradley, head of BBC Knowledge, has gone to Reuters.

Simon Bell, BBC2 head of marketing, left to become managing director of Eggsbenefit.com, a website for the catering trade.

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