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BBC Cuts Talent Costs, But Still Paying 19 Stars More Than 500,000 A Year

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BBC REPORT

The annual report of the BBC's performance revealed a mixed picture of its efficiency drive and output successes over the past year. It is the first report since Lord Patten was made chairman of the BBC Trust, and of principal interest were cuts to salaries and the World Service, now that the BBC is facing overall cuts of at least 16%.

For the first time, the report revealed that 19 of its top stars earn more than £500,000 a year. Those thought to be among the biggest earners are Chris Evans and Graham Norton.

When Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley defected to ITV it alone saved £2.3m and overall, the Corporation's talent costs fell by £9m. Executive salaries were also reduced. The average board member at the BBC now receives nearly a quarter less pay than a year ago. By the end of the year, the senior management bill will be £60m - a £20m saving in two years.

The World Service estimate for its total audience is 166 million over the past year - a dip from 180 million the previous year. It is clear that a reduction in its Foreign Office grant has already made a difference.

However, the loss was partly offset by its online audience, which is up by 40 per cent. BBC Arabic TV grew its weekly audience by two million to 13.5 million.

Peter Horrocks, BBC global news director, commented: "The strong international journalism from the World Service, particularly during the Arab Spring, has been a key part of the significant increases for online, English radio and Arabic television."

The annual report also revealed that the number of complaints about BBC programmes grew by 20,000.

Read the full Report

Filed by Olivia Williams