Fears grow that the BBC News Channel could become online only

Media Editor

Fears are growing among BBC journalists that the 24-hour BBC News Channel could follow the youth-orientated BBC3 in becoming an online-only service.

The issue was discussed today at an internal meeting at the Radio Theatre inside the BBC’s New Broadcasting House headquarters in London.

Questioned by Newsnight journalist Emily Maitlis whether the rolling news channel was moving online, the BBC’s director of News and Current Affairs James Harding said he would “personally” like it to continue.

But he told a packed audience of journalists that he needed to deliver a further £20 million of cuts to the BBC News budget. Asked if the News Channel would be merged with the international BBC World News service, Mr Harding said he would expect the two to get “much closer”.

Despite the BBC News chief’s belief that the News Channel would last “for a long time”, fears remain in the BBC newsroom that the rolling news service, which was launched in 1997, will be taken off the television platform.

A recent article written by the former BBC Director of News Richard Sambrook and his former head of strategy Sean McGuire, argued comprehensively that the rolling news format has become outdated and too expensive.

Within the BBC newsroom the article was seen as highly significant because Mr Sambrook, who is a professor of journalism at Cardiff University, is close to the BBC Director General Lord Hall. The pair worked together when Lord Hall was himself Head of Current Affairs at the BBC, during which time the BBC News Channel was set up.

In the article, published in The Guardian, Sambrook and McGuire argued that 24-hour news channels had been left outdated by social media and other technological developments and no longer represented value for money. The piece concluded: “Satellite news channels have played a hugely important role in the development of 24-hour news and information over the last 30 years. But technology, and consumers, have moved on. Might 2014 be the year we recognise that, like the emperor’s new clothes in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, news channels are not all they pretend to be?”

Sambrook attended the BBC’s annual News Festival event yesterday at the Radio Theatre and his presence and recently-expressed views on the future of rolling news were acknowledged by Harding.

The BBC News Channel is the most-watched rolling news service in Britain and its disappearance from the TV schedule would represent an opportunity for rival Sky News. By moving the News Channel online the BBC would save money on transmission costs. A BBC spokesperson said: “James was clear news channels were going to be around for a long time and would be on TV.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?