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BBC Salaries: 5 Stark Comparisons With ITV, Channel 4 And Sky, That Reveal Top Stars Could Be Underpaid

Are BBC stars actually value for money?

19/07/2017 18:33 | Updated 19 July 2017
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Comparisons between commercial broadcasters and BBC stars reveal many are vastly underpaid

The publication of the BBC ‘rich list’ of highest-paid stars has prompted fresh questions over the licence fee and value for money.

Direct comparisons are hard to make as the BBC’s competitors do not have the same obligation to confirm salaries.

Yet reported salaries for well known- on air talent at rival broadcasters suggest some of those featured on the BBC’s £100m list are, if anything, underpaid.

1. Jon Snow v Huw Edwards

PA/Getty
Jon Snow's (right) reported pay dwarfs that of Huw Edwards 

Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow is reportedly the highest paid newsreader in Britain with a staggering salary of £1m.

The figure is almost double the pay of BBC News at Ten presenter Huw Edwards, who earned between £550-599,999 last year.

Snow, who was recently forced to deny claims he chanted “fuck the Tories” at Glastonbury, has said little publicly about his remuneration.

2. Robert Peston v Laura Kuenssberg

PA/Getty
Robert Peston took a significant pay rise when he moved to ITV

ITV’s political editor reportedly commands a six-figure premium over his BBC counterpart.

Robert Peston is thought to earn at least £330,000 a year at the commercial broadcaster, some £130,000 more than the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.

While Peston has his own Sunday programme on the channel, Kuenssberg is expected to contribute to flagship BBC programmes on television, radio and to write copy for use online.

And Peston told the Daily Telegraph his move from the corporation was in part driven by money.

PA Wire/PA Images
Andrew Marr has spoken out about offers from BBC rivals 

Stars themselves have confirmed the generous deals available outside the Beeb.

Andrew Marr said in a statement: “In the past I have been offered deals by the BBC’s commercial rivals at a higher rate than the corporation would pay.”

But it’s not just top on-air talent who provide value for money. BBC Director General Tony Hall is paid less than many of his executive rivals.

PA Wire/PA Images
BBC Director General Tony Hall earns a lot less than his commercial counterparts

3. ITV plc - Dame Carolyn McCall v Tony Hall

ITV’s new chief executive has been hired on a contract which could potentially dwarf that of her BBC equivalent Lord Tony Hall to the tune of multiple millions.

Dame Carolyn McCall, who will join the commercial broadcaster from airline EasyJet next year, has reportedly signed up to a base salary of £900,000 - with the potential to earn an additional £25.2m over five years.

ITV has around 6,000 employees and earned revenue of £3.04bn last year.

Anthony Harvey via Getty Images
Dame Carolyn McCall has just accepted the job of ITV chief executive

Hall meanwhile takes home £450-499,999 at the Beeb, which had around 19,254 staff last year, and drew in almost £5bn from the licence fee and sales of its shows worldwide.

McCall might take a dim view of newly-exposed gender pay cap at the BBC, having said previously: “The pay gap is unacceptable after 45 years of equal pay legislation.”

4. Channel 4 - Alex Mahon v Tony Hall

Channel 4
Channel 4's incoming chief executive Alex Mahon will earn at least £900,000

Channel 4′s new chief executive will also earn £900,000, considerably more than Hall’s £499,999 maximum.

Alex Mahon will take up the role in October, becoming the first woman to take the helm of the publicly-owned, privately-funded broadcaster in its 35-year history.

But Channel 4 had a corporate revenue of just £995m last year and a staff of 727 - a fraction of the BBC’s.

5. Sky plc - Jeremy Darroch v Tony Hall

PA Archive/PA Images
Jeremy Darroch has earned an average of £6.8m a year as Sky chief executive

Sky’s current chief executive has earned a mammoth £68 million in pay and benefits since he took over the role ten years ago.

Jeremy Darroch has averaged a whopping £6.8m a year in pay.

Sky earned a revenue of £11.965m last year and employs 30,000 people.

Darroch looks set to profit again, too, with a thick cut of the proceeds of a potential sale of Sky to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

He could be in line for as much as £20m, the Guardian reported.

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