The BBC has reportedly spent 200,000 pounds training its staff to use iPhones, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. Over three years, 783 employees took part in training courses costing 300 pounds per person.
It was also revealed that over the past two years the BBC has spent 2.5million pounds on state of the art technology for employees. In total, the BBC bought 4,266 iPhones, 427 iPads and 815 MacBooks between January 2012 and October 2013.
In the course of two years, the BBC bought iPhones at a rate of 200 per month.
The spike in tech spending has provoked anger among TV license fee payers. Viewers pay 145.50 pounds a year for a color TV, which is spent on BBC services and programming.
Andrew Sylvester, of the Taxpayers Alliance said: “It’s absolutely incredible that the BBC has run up a bill of this size teaching staff to use mainstream technology.”
He called the spending unnecessary, adding that “school teachers across the country know full well that teenagers can master an iPhone, so professionals should be able to.”
In response to the claims, the BBC revealed that last year’s training bill was 42,000 pounds, which is the lowest ever figure.
According to the BBC’s 2013 Annual Report, the entire training cost of 42,000 pounds accounted for less than 0.5 percent of its total operating budget.
Mark Wray, Head of the BBC’s College of Journalism, refuted claims that the spending was “incredible.”He states that the world is undergoing a “revolution in newsgathering” whereby the use of smartphone technology is providing unprecedented access to breaking news.
He further claims that by spending money on training journalists to maximize the use of their smartphones, they will reduce the cost of journalism in the long run.
“It’s fair and appropriate to ask whether the sizeable sums quoted are providing value for money,” said Wray. “Sadly that’s the part of the story some of our critics don’t want to hear. This form of newsgathering is arguably the cheapest most efficient means currently available.”
Wray noted the hypocrisy of other news outlets criticizing the BBC’s practice. “It’s something that even some of the newspapers which criticized us are doing in order to gather and produce content for their own digital platforms,” he said.