BBC Annual Report Reveals Top Earners As Gary Lineker Takes Pay Cut; New DG Tim Davie Says Stars Must Use Social Media “Responsibly”

BBC Annual Report Reveals Top Earners As Gary Lineker Takes Pay Cut; New DG Tim Davie Says Stars Must Use Social Media “Responsibly”

September 15, 2020

The BBC published its annual financials today, revealing its top earning presenters and executives.

Sports personality Gary Lineker leads the way again but has agreed to take a £400,000 ($514,000) pay cut as part of signing a new five-year deal with the broadcaster, also announced today. Lineker earned £1.75M ($2.25M) in 2018-2019 but the cut will see him land in line with Radio 2 presenter Zoe Ball as the org continues to try and reduce its gender pay gap.

Here are the BBC’s top earners for 2019/20:

1. Gary Lineker – £1.75M
2. Zoe Ball – £1.36M
3. Graham Norton – £725,000
4. Steve Wright – £475,000
5. Huw Edwards – £465,000
6. Fiona Bruce – £450,000
7. Vanessa Feltz – £405,000
8. Lauren Laverne – £395,000
9. Alan Shearer – £390,000
10. Stephen Nolan – £390,000

As part of its annual report, the broadcaster also discloses all executive salaries above £150,000. Previous director general Tony Hall earned a base salary of £450,000 ($580,000) in 18-19, while new DG Tim Davie’s salary was £400,000 ($514,000) in his previous role as CEO of BBC Studios, though salaries at the commercial producing arm are not included in the overall numbers as they are not paid for by the license fee.

Speaking in a presser after the publication of the report, Davie said the org was operating in a “tougher than ever market environment” due to pandemic disruption.

The DG has pledged to make the BBC a slimmer, more cost-effective organization, recently outlining plans to cut 450 jobs in its English regional TV news and current affairs divisions. He said today that reforms would happen “at an urgent pace”.

Davie also addressed recent questions around BBC staff’s usage of social media to express partisan political agendas. The wider BBC has a remit to be impartial.

“Gary [Lineker] knows his responsibility to the BBC in terms of his use of social media” said Davie, explaining that staff would soon receive new rules around social media usage.

Davie also highlighted that the overall gender pay gap at the org had fallen from 6.7% to 6.2%. “We can be proud of our progress but we must go further,” he commented. The BBC has missed targets on both gender pay and having BAME people in leadership positions (12.3% of leader roles are occupied by BAME staff, the target was 15%).

Reacting to the report, DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said that an overall rise in salaries for on-air talent and senior executives was “concerning”.

“Despite Gary Lineker’s pay cut, when millions of pensioners are having to find extra cash to pay for the BBC and services they depend on, it’s concerning to see not only has the bill for on-air talent has grown…we will continue to press the BBC on how well the licence fee payer is served as part of our ongoing inquiry into the role of public service broadcasting in this digital age,” she said in a statement.

Separately today, BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore, who was recently appointed to the BBC board, announced she would be stepping away from commissioning and her role as controller of BBC One. She said she would be changing her day-to-day work to focus on the org’s wider content strategy.

BBC Studios also posted its earning today. The company recorded record revenues in 19-20, with 77 new commissions from the BBC and third parties. Sales were up 17%, profit (EBITDA) up 14%, and BBC content investment up 19% for titles including His Dark Materials and Dracula. The business also had its best ever year for content sales, up 21%. Returns to the BBC were up 14% on the previous year. It did however note that the pandemic will impact its 20/21 earnings significantly.

“Since year end, the environment in which we operate has changed dramatically, but the performance of the business in 19/20 has given us a position of strength from which to weather the current challenging times,” said interim BBC Studios CEO Tom Fussell.

Earlier today, Netflix and Sky executives answered questions from a parliamentary committee about the future of the UK’s Public Service Broadcasters.

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