News from across the pond about Britain's primary television services.
First the independent commercial service ITV....Liberty Global to buy stake in British Broadcaster ITV. John C. Malone's Liberty Global agreed on Thursday to buy a minority stake in the British broadcaster ITV, further expanding the international cable company's reach into Europe.
Liberty Global, which has spent billions of dollars to acquire several cable businesses across Europe, is buying the 6.4 percent stake from the British Sky Broadcasting Group for £481 million, or $824 million.
The minority-share deal is the third foray into Britain for Liberty Global, the international cable vehicle of U.S. media mogul John Malone. Last year, Liberty paid $16 billion to acquire Virgin Media, the U.K. cable television and Internet service provider that battles telecommunications incumbent BT Group and BSkyB for telephone, broadband and pay-TV subscribers.
Earlier this year, Liberty and U.S. peer Discovery Communications Inc. jointly acquired All3Media of the U.K. for nearly $1 billion. Murdoch's BSkyB first bought a stake in ITV in 2006, but was later forced to reduce its holdings. Speculation has been that the company would need to raise several billion in funds if it is to go ahead with a plan to merge with Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia.
At the non-commercial BBC: BBC director of news James Harding said Thursday that the British media outlet plans to cut 415 jobs as part of an ongoing effort to reduce overhead. The 8,400-person news organization will see a net 220 full-time job losses overall, as it plans to create 195 new positions to boost the its digital staff.
The move is part of £800 million efficiency savings required after the license fee was frozen in 2010. The latest cuts are expected to save £48 million by 2017. BBC News currently employs around 5,000 journalists worldwide.
Beyond job cuts, cost savings will come through back office efficiencies, an integration with the BBC World Service radio operation to reduce costs in international bureaus and "changes to the planning and commissioning of coverage."
The cost-cutting move completes a broader BBC News initiative dubbed the "Delivering Quality First" program. It was initiated after an agreement on the BBC licensing fee, which U.K. homes pay to finance the broadcaster, which included new coverage obligations despite an unchanged fee. The BBC said that effectively cut its budget by 26 percent.