BBC star salaries to be revealed – BBC News

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The salaries of the BBC’s biggest stars are expected to be revealed in the corporation’s annual report when it is published later.

It’s the first time – and probably the only time – this information will be made public.

The review will be published at 11:00 BST and details of anyone earning more than 150,000 a year will be included.

The report will also look at TV and radio viewing figures, as well as online engagement.

It may also examine the issue of the competition, such as Netflix.

What exactly is the BBC’s annual report?

It looks back over the previous year’s performance and publishes details about the corporation’s finances and spending. This year’s edition could prove more interesting than most.

Why are they revealing star salaries?

It’s all down to the government’s culture secretary, Karen Bradley.

Speaking in the House of Commons last September, Mrs Bradley said publishing the salaries of stars earning more than 150,000 would bring the BBC “in line with the civil service” on transparency.

The culture secretary said it would help ensure the BBC “produces value for money for the licence fee” and that more transparency could lead to savings that could be “invested in even more great programmes”.

But the BBC’s director general, Tony Hall, has said: “Our position on talent pay has not changed and all major broadcasters have questioned the merit of the proposal.

“The BBC operates in a competitive market and this will not make it easier for the BBC to retain the talent the public love.”

ITV’s programmes chief, Kevin Lygo, also called the proposal a “mean-spirited, nosey way of looking at things” during last year’s Edinburgh Television Festival.

The corporation already reveals the salary details of on-air stars who earn more than 450,000 and executives who earn more than 150,000.

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Media captionTony Hall, BBC director general, says publishing stars’ pay details will be ‘inflationary’

Who might be among the talent listed?

Presenters such as Graham Norton, Gary Lineker, Claudia Winkleman, Chris Evans, Fiona Bruce and Andrew Marr could easily be on the list.

The revelations are required under the BBC’s new Royal Charter, and are expected to encompass more than 100 of its top stars.

According to last year’s annual report, 109 TV and radio presenters earned more than 150,000 in the financial year 2015-16. But they were not named at the time.

Have the stars spoken out about the move?

Some have.

Speaking at the China Exchange last month, Andrew Marr said of the plans to formally spell out pay: “It’s uncomfortable for all of us.

“I’m well paid but I’m much less overpaid, perhaps, than people working for rival organisations who won’t go through this process,” reported the Telegraph.

But Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman said ahead of Karen Bradley’s announcement last year: “I’m all for it. I totally understand it. We’re working for the public, so why shouldn’t they know?

“It’s good to see some women on the list too.

“We get paid an awful lot of money and it’s a marketplace. It’s bonkers.”

She added: “I love working for the BBC. I know that commercial stations pay a whole lot more – double, three times, four times. But I totally understand why people would want to know.”

What else might come out of the report?

By revealing talent pay, we might also find out if there is any gender disparity.

We should also find out how the BBC’s television and radio channels and stations have performed over the last year.

And it’s also a chance to discover more about the BBC’s audiences – who is tuning in to TV, radio and the websites, for instance. (The BBC is struggling to attract younger audiences, as it faces competition from YouTube, social media and gaming).

Trust issues in news and the rise of competition from the likes of Netflix (which released impressive growth numbers this week) and Amazon Prime could also feature.

Will we find out star salaries every year from now on?

Not necessarily. From next year, some salaries may not be disclosed if the stars are employed by the newly-formed BBC Studios. This programme-making division is being turned in to a commercial operation and will operate and be treated in the same way as an independent production company.

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