Hundreds of BBC jobs axed as websites ‘streamlined’

The BBC will cut around 360 jobs and close hundreds of websites as part of “a more streamlined” approach to its online service, unveiled yesterday.

The corporation is cutting its online budget by 25 per cent from £137m to £103m by 2013-14.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson acknowledged the changes would be “painful” but insisted BBC Online “lies at the heart” of the corporation’s digital future.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “BBC Online is a huge success but our vast portfolio of websites means we sometimes fall short of expectation. A refocusing on our editorial priorities, a commitment to the highest quality standards and a more streamlined and collegiate way of working will help us transform BBC Online for the future.”

Mr Thompson said the online service had grown “organically” and there needed to be a reduction in its “scope and scale”.

Its new service will be divided into 10 different products including news, sport, CBeebies, TV and iPlayer and weather.

BBC executive Roly Keating said it aimed to close around half of the 400 stand-alone websites and webpages set up previously, adding “We just don’t need them.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Among those that will disappear are the youth-orientated BBC Switch, Video Nation and a number of forums, blogs and message boards, including the 606 community football site. There will also be a reduction in the amount of sports news.

The job losses include 70 journalism positions, 24 in sport and around 90 in BBC Vision.

The corporation also said it wanted to double the number of referrals to external websites to 22 million each month by 2013-14.

It also promised to take a more upmarket approach to entertainment news, with more culture and arts coverage replacing showbusiness news.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The BBC also published a list of things it will not do, including not to launch a social networking site, publish local listings, run online-only music sessions or pay for exclusive online sports rights.

The corporation has previously come under fire for the wide-ranging nature of its output.

Mr Thompson denied the cuts had been forced on the BBC but said it had taken on “points made to us by the industry about the BBC’s market impact”.