Ian Burrell: A week when the BBC and Guardian reveal their hidden financial pain

Mark Thompson and Alan Rusbridger have been allies in countering the power of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp

This is a big week for the BBC, which releases its annual report later this morning, and for Guardian Media Group, which will warn its staff at meetings tomorrow that it is losing in the order of £1m a week.

It is a key moment for Mark Thompson, the retiring Director-General, who will use the presentation of his final set of accounts as an opportunity to underline the legacy he has left during eight years in charge of the BBC. His successor George Entwistle will learn a little more of the serious financial challenges he has inherited.

And it is a crucial juncture for Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of The Guardian, who must reassure his nervous troops that his radical "digital first" strategy is not leading the title to disaster. Last week, Rusbridger prepared for a day of staff presentations and question and answer sessions on annual losses of around £50m by taking a short break to practise his piano playing.

Thompson and Rusbridger have been allies in countering the power of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Both have been ambitious expansionists and their organisations are at the forefront of digital news provision in Britain, with offerings developed by spending public funds and charitable trust reserves respectively.

Many users of these slick websites will be unaware of the financial problems that threaten the organisations that produce them. Last week at Westminster, MPs and broadcasting unions called for a reversal of the BBC licence fee settlement which Mr Thompson struck with the Coalition Government, leading to 2,000 job losses across the organisation.

The annual report will need to show that promises to deliver further cuts in executive salaries and expenditure on talent have been met. Executive pay was "the one call that Thompson got seriously wrong in his tenure," says Steve Barnett, professor of journalism at the University of Westminster.

Entwistle must deliver further austerity measures – including 25 per cent cuts on the BBC website by 2013-14 – in the knowledge that BSkyB, in which Mr Murdoch's News Corp still has the largest shareholding, is making £1bn profit a year and is spending it freely on drama, comedy, and entertainment talent, areas that have been key to BBC ratings in the past. Alongside the satellite broadcaster, the once dominant BBC suddenly seems like the poor relation.

The message from Mr Rusbridger and the GMG chief executive, Andrew Miller, on Tuesday will be that digital revenues are rising, though these earnings are nowhere near enough to stem total losses that they both know are unsustainable.

Guardian staff will hear that GMG is sitting on a £200m cash and investment pile, plus a £60m windfall from the sale of radio assets and a half share of the lucrative Trader Group. They will be told that the £50m loss is in line with expectations of a five-year plan that began last year, when Mr Rusbridger made what seemed like a landmark announcement that The Guardian was becoming a "digital-first organisation". The group, he said, would "move beyond the newspaper, shifting focus, effort and investment towards digital, because that is our future".

But while he appeals to staff – who will be invited to consider a revived voluntary redundancy programme – to hold their nerve, The Guardian's editor knows that print still delivers two-thirds of the company's revenues and sales of the paper are down 18 per cent year-on-year.

Tellingly, GMG is currently anxious to emphasise its commitment to the traditional newspaper. "Reports of the imminent demise of print are wholly exaggerated," says a Guardian source. "Print will be with us for many years to come, but its revenues will continue to decline and inevitably it will be something that news organisations cease to do." That "digital-first" doctrine seems to have softened.

Daniel goes from downton to last days of Diana

One of the stars of Downton Abbey has been cast in a controversial role in a feature film about Diana, Princess of Wales, which supports the theory that she deliberately staged photographs taken in the last days of her life in order to provoke a reaction from her lover Hasnat Khan.

Daniel Pirrie, who played the cad Major Charles Bryant in the hit ITV drama, has been filming the role of the British celebrity photographer Jason Fraser, who is said to have arranged to take pictures of Diana following phone conversations with the Princess during a holiday she was taking with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

The Diana biopic, which features Naomi Watts in the starring role, is likely to anger Dodi's father Mohamed al Fayed, who believes the Princess was the victim of a covert operation by paparazzi photographers.

The Absolute truth – not-so-youthful Vaughan moves to where his face fits

Johnny Vaughan is off to work on Absolute Radio for the Olympics. Eight months after dramatically walking out of Capital after eight years presenting the breakfast show he says that in an era when radio has become a visual medium he no longer looked youthful enough to be the face of a pop network.

"Capital sell with TV ads and the fact is that I can't be the 'Face of Hit Music'.

"It becomes, after a while, like watching your dad dance. I could still dance at a wedding and that's kind of fine. But I wouldn't go clubbing with the kids. And that's what Capital is about."

He launches a drive-time show from 27 July on Absolute where his new colleagues will include such evergreen dancing dads as Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood.

"I'm moving to a crowd where your face fits and where it's not so embarrassing to see you rocking out," says Vaughan, 45.

Twitter: @iburrell

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
Review: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull
football
Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
film
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

Business, Marketing and Tourism Volunteer Projects

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: As part of an ongoing effort to support local...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit