New BBC director-general Tim Davie has launched a full audit of the corporation's output ahead of plans for a 20% reduction in hours.
In his maiden speech earlier this month, the former BBC Studios head suggested that rather than spreading itself too thinly in the years ahead, the BBC should look to produce fewer hours with a potentially increased hourly budget.
Davie has now set all department heads the task of deciding what they would do if they had only 80% of their current budgets and has given them a deadline of just a few weeks to come up with proposals.
"The BBC struggles at times to close things, and I accept that," Davie told Broadcast. "I've challenged all divisional owners to examine the scenario of what they would do with 20% less.
"I want them to have a really tough look and then we'll have an internal discussion about how far we go.
"How do we make sure we are investing in the highest-impact content? That is a critical challenge."
As new DG, Davie is overseeing a critical time in the BBC's history in which it must not only deliver significant savings to balance the books but also negotiate its longer-term future with the current government.