The BBC Trust has sanctioned a 27 per cent increase in the corporation’s online budget, to more than £145 million per year, over the next three years.
BBC web ventures will benefit from a £30.7 million increase in the BBC Online budget, a 27 per cent increase over its current £114.4 million -a-year budget over the next three years subject to conditions set out by the trust chairman, Michael Lyons, to make sure the corporation does not abuse its power in the market.
The approved increase is almost 42 per cent below the £52.7 million a year the BBC wanted. Regardless, cash-strapped commercial rivals will balk at the ability the BBC has to ratchet up-spending in such economic conditions.
Lyons, in a letter to director general Mark Thompson, concluded that the budget increase did not require a full public value test, concluding that there was a “limited risk of the new investment, which is incremental in existing areas of BBC activity, adding materially to the market impact of BBC Online”.