BBC cuts back on online services


The BBC's online presence is to be cut back to six flagship areas following a review of the corporation's web content.

The review, which launched last autumn and was led by BBC News and Current Affairs Director James Harding follows various recent comments from Government ministers over the scope of the BBC's presence online.

As a result, the BBC is to close the iWonder service and the BBC Food website - although the commercially funded Good Food site from BBC Worldwide remains, including recipes. The BBC News Magazine will be closed, the Radio 1 Newsbeat website and app will close, with content integrated into the main BBC News site.

BBC Travel News will no longer be offered via its own site and there will be no further development of the Travel App, although the latest travel news will still be offered elsewhere.

Local news pages will also be cut back, with an end to local index pages in favour of the Local Live rolling news format.

Ring-fenced funding for iPlayer-only commissions will be removed. The BBC has also said that digital radio and music social activity and additional programme content that is "not core to services" will be reduced.

By cutting back the spread of websites, apps and other operations it will deliver a total saving of more than £15 million, or 15 per cent of the service’s editorial spend.

Announcing the changes, the BBC said "The BBC has been at the forefront of UK digital broadcasting for 20 years, being among the first to offer online news and blazing a trail for on-demand TV through BBC iPlayer. But the online market is global and the BBC only accounts for around a 4.5 per cent share of UK adults' time online compared to Facebook’s 20 per cent."

The move comes just months after the BBC moved its youth channel BBC Three online. The new BBC Three online relied on Newsbeat for some of its daily content. iPlayer only commissions were a key part of its revamped offering, which could undermine the service's development in the future.

The BBC’s online activities will continue to focus on these six flagship areas after a review to ensure they remain "high quality and distinctive":
  • BBC News
  • BBC Sport
  • iPlay and BBC Bitesize
  • BBC iPlayer and BBC iPlayer Radio
  • the Ideas Service
  • BBC Live

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