Monday, November 12, 2007

Big Money in Broadcasting

There's an article in this morning's Scotsman about pay for bosses of public sector businesses; the fifth highest paid is Mark Thompson - the BBC director-general who gets £788,000. Obviously this is an enormous amount of money and one assumes he's paid so much for the responsibility of running one of Britain's biggest companies and also because it's a very competitive market place for the top people in the entertainment industry. Two things come to mind. If you accept the perks you accept the responsibility and Mr. Thompson does not seem to think he has to answer for the BBC being found guilty of rigging phone in voting on a number of their programmes. The fact is though that no one ever seems to be responsible for anything these days.

Added to which is it any wonder that so many BBC presenters get salaries that are eye-wateringly large as it has become a cultural thing within the Corporation to 'need to pay this type of money' in order to attract the best. Interestingly eleven of the top 100 earners in the public sector are with Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator who were also involved in overseeing an industry riddled with fake phone-in scandals.


According to the Daily Telegraph ten people responsible for organising the 2012 London Olympics are each earning more than £175,000 a year, putting them in the top 100 aid public sector workers. The budget has almost quadrupled since London won the bid and now stands at £9.35 billion. Again is it any wonder?

Further UPDATE

In 2004/5 Mark Thompson earned £459,000, that's over a 70% increase in salary in two years or so. Is he really that good? In 2006 he earned £619,000, so that's 27% in just one year.

I started out thinking I was being a bit churlish in drawing attention to Mr Thompson's salary, it is after all a very subjective thing. However, raising his salary by so much during a period when the Corporation has had such a difficult time does seem excessive. Bizarrely given the tax he's paying, and bearing in mind he's effectively paid by us the tax payer and therefore the government then much of the increase ends up back in their (our) coffers.


Steve Kelly said...

It would also be interesting to know if, as is common for public sector workers, Mark is entitled to a whopping great pension-for-life linked in some way to his salary. After all, he has had to endure career in the lowly paid public service sector poor man.

Richard Havers said...

Steve, that bit had passed me by, so focused was I on how much he was getting now and how little he took responsibility for the erorrs in his company.