BBC's Tony Hall announces plan to double news audience to 500m but cut another £100m from overall budget

BBC director general Tony Hall has outlined plans to double the size of the BBC News global audience by 2022.

But he has also revealed proposed to shave an extra £100m off the existing BBC budget by 2017 to pay for new projects.

Speaking today Hall said: “I’ve spent a good part of my working life in BBC News. I believe in its singular importance. And while I want BBC News to be alive to its critics, I don’t want BBC News to be cowed by them. Instead, the challenge is to take what is, to my mind, an extraordinary and unique organisation – and make it even better.

“This means earning the respect of our audiences through the intelligence and the courage of our reporting.

“A generation ago, we set out not simply to tell people what’s going on in the world, but to try and explain it. Today, we must also examine it. As we’re doing with the economy. Or the Scottish referendum.

“I want to renew our commitment to investigative journalism. I believe that datajournalism gives us new ways to understand the society we live in. And citizen journalism and social media can get us closer to the story of what’s really going on. And, from our local radio stations in England to our news programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to our global news operation, that’s what we are here to do.”

Talking about plans to expand the audience of BBC News he said: “Our ambition is to double our global audience by 2022 to half a billion. We’re going to do that by improving the quality of World News on television and online.

“We will deliver more regional output to get closer to our audiences in different parts of the world. And we will use bbc.com to reach new audiences too.”

But on the need to cut costs at the BBC he said: “The licence fee is frozen to 2017 and we’re sticking to that.

“That means we have to save 16 per cent by the end of that period. We’re planning to save more than that – another 4 per cent – to invest in the future, the ideas I’ve talked about this morning. But we’ll have to find more again to do everything I’ve outlined today – up to another £100 million a year by the end of the Charter.

“I know people won’t find it easy – the organisation has been through some tough times already – but I’m certain we can do it as the prize is what I’ve outlined today. And that must be worth it.

"That will mean some hard choices. We’ll look at our investment priorities. We’ll examine every penny we’re spending today and redirect resources – money, people – towards our new priorities where we can.”

Tony Hall's full speech, delivered in the Radio Theatre in London, is available here.

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