BBC Unveils Online Restructuring Plans

The BBC has unveiled details of its plans to restructure BBC Online. The restructuring will see its budget cut by 25 per cent, from £137m today to £103m by 2013/14. As a result, there will be up to 360 proposed post closures which will be phased in over the next two years, and a halving of the number of Top Level Domains.

The changes, which have been approved by the BBC Trust, are designed to deliver a better quality service based on the BBC’s five editorial priorities. As part of the changes, the BBC is committing to double the number of referrals to external websites by 2013/14, to around 22m each month, and to engage with industry twice a year about its plans.

The BBC has also offered commitments as to what it will and will not do online. For instance, it has pledged not to launch its own social network; offer track-by-track music streaming services; or become a video-on-demand aggregator in BBC iPlayer, although it will link to other on-demand providers.

Under the changes, BBC Online will be transformed into 10 distinctive products: News; Sport; Weather; CBeebies; CBBC; Knowledge & Learning; Radio & Music; TV & iPlayer; Homepage; and Search. Each will share common technical features, such as consistent design, improved navigation, and the ability for licence fee payers to personalise and access them across a range of devices, from computers and mobiles to tablets and TVs.

The majority of programme websites will be replaced with automated content, while non-news feature content will be removed from local sites, and there will be fewer News blogs, with more focus on updates from leading editors and correspondents. There will also be a reduction in the overall amount of Sports news and live sport, and standalone forums, communities, message-boards and blogs will be reduced and replaced with integrated social tools.

A spokeswoman for the BBC told Mobile Marketing that it was too early to say what impact the cuts would have on the BBCs mobile output, but added: “It is not like we are going to pull out of mobile; we are in that area now and we will continue to be.”