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BBC Red Button set to be axed

The BBC could be preparing to axe its ‘Red Button’ function amid news of impending drastic cuts.

It has emerged that the public-funded media corporation is to make £150 million worth of additional cuts, and that one of the victims of those cuts will be the treasured Red Button facility.

The BBC has been scaling back its operations in recent times, as the current Conservative government continues to reappraise and renegotiate the license fee-based funding of the institution. The Red Button is the latest service to be primed for the chop.

The Red Button, so named after the colour-coded remote control shortcut button used to access it, has been a gateway to additional BBC content since it took over from Ceefax in 2012.

During major sporting events like Wimbledon and The Olympics, it provides access to additional streams outside of the usual BBC 1 and BBC 2 set-up. It plays a similar role during Glastonbury, as well as laying on extended coverage of things like Formula 1 races.

It’s expected that BBC director general Lord Hall will announce that the BBC website will pick up the slack on some of these special events later today.

Related: BBC Store enables digital TV show purchases

Besides the loss of the Red Button, it’s expected that the BBC will be losing its Formula 1 broadcast rights as part of a £35 million cut to sports coverage. Around 1,000 jobs will be cut in total, as announced back in July.

One of the key reasons for these latest cuts is the dramatic drop in license fee revenue collected by the BBC, and it’s all down to the iPlayer provision. At present, there exists a loophole which means that you can watch BBC content through iPlayer without having to pay a license fee, and an increasing number of Brits are taking advantage of this.

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