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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK


Job losses at BBC World

Nisha Pallai presenting a bulletin on BBC World

International news channel BBC World's future is secure, but 50 jobs are to go as part of a revamp of the service.

From April 2000 the commercial service, which lost 15.6m last year, will feature more global business news and will be based around half-hour news bulletins.

Nato spokesman Jamie Shea and Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko have recently spoken out to back the channel after fears the BBC would close it.

[ image: Jamie Shea: Nato's spokesman spoke out for BBC World]
Jamie Shea: Nato's spokesman spoke out for BBC World
Now current affairs programmes The World Today and Europe Direct are to be dropped from the schedule, with an extra edition of World Business Report added to its output.

The channel will now offer a half-hour news bulletin every hour on weekdays and news bulletins and summaries at weekends, backed up with a wide range of factual programmes.

BBC Worldwide Chief Executive Rupert Gavin said the changes would mean the channel would become a "clear, marketable proposition" which would have more appeal to audiences and advertisers.

The channel, which is available in 150 million homes worldwide, earns money from advertising, and by law cannot take funding from the licence fee or from the Foreign Office grant-in-aid which supports the World Service.

[ image: Europe Direct: One of the programmes which will go]
Europe Direct: One of the programmes which will go
Mr Gavin said: "BBC World is the BBC's flagship international channel, renowned for the quality and integrity of its news coverage. These changes, announced today, will further enhance the channel's appeal and deliver real long-term, commercial benefit."

The BBC said it hoped most of the 50 staff whose jobs would go would be transferred to other parts of BBC News.

BBC News chief executive Tony Hall said: "The Kosovo war this year demonstrated very clearly the ability of BBC World to respond to critical issues and be valued and trusted for that internationally.

"It remains the BBC News - 24 hours a day - throughout the world and this schedule safeguards its future."

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