Eve up for grabs in BBC review

The corporation will sell its profitable women's glossy as Mark Thompson looks to make savings.

A bidding war seems likely to follow the news that BBC Worldwide is to sell its profitable Eve title as part of the director-general Mark Thompson's review of the corporation.

Emap is expected to show interest; Eve could fill the gap left by the departure of its Red and Elle titles to Hachette Filipacchi in 2002. Eve has been the fastest-growing women's glossy for the past three ABC periods and, with 17.6 per cent year-on-year growth this year, has a circulation of 142,382.

The title is also an attractive property for IPC Southbank, which lacks a women's glossy targeting thirtysomethings.

The review will also see What to Wear magazine seeking a new home as Worldwide looks to focus on core titles such as Top Gear and the Radio Times. Non-conforming magazines at the recently acquired Origin publishing are also set to be offloaded.

In a move that will please rival publishers, Thompson has also announced that BBC Worldwide will not receive free BBC airtime to promote its commercial activities. This will put an end to on-air trails for Radio Times and Top Gear - a practice that has caused outcry among rivals for years.

The news came as part of Thompson's review of the BBC, designed to slash costs and improve the image of the corporation ahead of charter renewal in 2006.

In a bid to boost annual savings to £320 million in the next three years, up to 5,000 jobs will go. The marketing department faces a cull of 26 per cent of its workforce; 119 staff will lose their jobs through redundancies and outsourcing over the next three years.

There is also a proposal to move departments, including BBC Sport, children's TV and Radio Five Live, to Manchester. Thompson ruled out the sale of BBC Worldwide but the disposal of all, or part, of BBC Broadcast and BBC Resources is a possibility.

- Comment, p64.

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