Today, BBC director general Mark Thompson confirmed a number of proposals aimed at saving the corporation £670m a year by 2016/7.
Alongside the loss of up to 2,000 jobs, the proposals also include the axe of BBC Two's daytime budget, the scaling back of BBC Three and BBC Four, the reduction of BBC Radio networks except Radio 4 and a 15% cut to the BBC Sport budget for sports rights.
The BBC Trust is now running a public consultation on the cost savings proposals put forward by the BBC, which will close in December.
The Guardian's media editor Dan Sabbagh said that one aspect of the cutbacks is "troubling", notably what happens in three or four years' time when the BBC negotiates its next licence fee deal with the government.
"If Thompson is right, and there is not much fat left to cut, then the next time around there is a stark choice. Freeze the licence fee then, and a channel or an entire type of coverage - such as sport - will have to go," he wrote.
"For those who believe in the organisation, respect its quality, integrity and contribution to public life, the prospect of another squeeze is disturbing. Thompson, or his successors, can't fight off inflation for ever - but this time around he has done what he can."
Media analyst Steve Hewlett said that the public will be upset about the reduction of certain BBC services, but they will be relieved that it was "not as bad as it could have been".
"The government were afraid that having forced the BBC into a licence fee standstill until 2017, any service closures would rebound on them," he told BBC News.
"There will be all sorts of things that some viewers, listeners and users will notice and they're not going to be desperately happy about that. There were lots of things that were hung out there as kind of big 'harem scarem' options which they have managed to avoid, but in public terms they'll be pleased if we all go away saying, 'Well it's not as bad as it could have been'."
Torin Douglas, the BBC's media correspondent, said that the corporation's DQF cuts represent "the most far-reaching transformation in its history".
"It's cutting its budget by £670 million a year. Most savings will come from improved productivity - 2,000 jobs will go, including more than 300 senior management posts," he said.
"No services will be cut, but there'll be more repeats, on BBC Two in daytime and late at night; fewer lunchtime concerts on Radio 3; and a 15% cut in the budgets for sports rights."
Andrew Harrison, the chief executive of commercial radio trade body RadioCentre, gave a cautious welcome to plans to scale back certain BBC radio networks.
"RadioCentre has argued for many years that the BBC's generous public funding for national and local radio should be scrutinised to secure best value for licence fee payers," he said.
"Even after these changes BBC radio will still have vast resources. Its real challenge will be to do what DQF promises, and deliver quality with the most distinctive radio services possible. We look forward to responding to the substance of the Trust's consultation on DQF in due course."
However, the National Union of Journalists condemned the announcement of a 20% cut across the BBC's budget and the loss of up to 2,000 jobs by 2017.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet warned that the BBC "will not be the same organisation if these cuts go ahead".
"You cannot reduce budgets by 20% and pretend that the BBC will still be able to be a world class broadcaster," she added.
"Quality journalism and programming is inevitably going to be diluted. If the BBC presses ahead with these changes strike action across the corporation seems inevitable."
Gerry Morrissey, the general secretary of fellow trade union Bectu, added: "If [Thompson] wanted to sign up to these cuts, which he did without consultation, then he could have said: 'Ok, we cannot do everything - I'm not going to damage the quality, therefore a service is going to go'.
"It's not for me to say which service should go, but to actually say that viewers will not know the difference is not true. There is going to be a huge deterioration in quality.
"This is his making. He was pushed into this by the government - he accepted it and he's doing the dirty work for the government. We believe the salami-slicing that is happening across the board is a mistake."
The Department for culture, media and sport, which negotiated the BBC's new licence fee settlement last year that resulted in the need for cost savings, said: "We welcome that the BBC is thinking hard about what it does and where it should focus in future.
"We are committed to an independent, strong and successful BBC that is the cornerstone of British broadcasting. How the BBC allocates its funding in meeting its objectives is a matter for the BBC."
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