Feeds

BBC Online ordered to be more 'distinctive' as cuts kick in

Meta navel-gazing: There will be a review of the review

Boost IT visibility and business value

The BBC has agreed to make its web presence more “distinctive”, following the Corporation’s director-general Mark Thompson’s decision in July to scale back its online operation and cut the budget by a quarter.

That’s the conclusion of the Beeb’s ‘Strategy Review’, which the BBC Trust published a final report on today.

It said the BBC would now commit to increasing “the distinctiveness of other services that operate in markets where there is a broad range of commercial provision, particularly BBC Online, Radio 1 and Radio 2.”

The report reaffirmed that 6Music – which had been targeted for closure – would live on. It also said that BBC Four needed higher awareness among its potential audience base, but made no mention whatsoever of BBC Three, which possibly hints that that TV channel could yet be axed.

Meanwhile BBC Online, which is undergoing a massive budget and web pages cull, is required to pursue a new strategy “where BBC activity in individual online markets is clearly defined and justified in terms of its distinctiveness and its focus on the BBC’s public purposes,” said Auntie’s governing body.

The Beeb’s online management team is in effect required to sprinkle uniqueness on its content, rather than simply pursue a strategy that puts “potential popularity” at the top of the agenda.

“For BBC Online, we expect to see an increase in quality scores, and improvement or closure of the sites that are not meeting audience expectations for quality,” said the trust.

Additionally, the Beeb will discuss its online strategy with industry players to address or presumably nod disapprovingly at the “greatest sensitivities” that exist in the web market.

At the same time, the BBC will continue to develop mobile apps that provide BBC Online content and are available to different mobile operating systems “on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis”.

Elsewhere DAB – the digital radio tech that refuses to die at least in the eyes of the BBC’s executives – will have its national coverage enhanced.

“[The BBC will] continue working with government and industry to assess the level of investment needed to extend coverage of the local tier of DAB in time for any switchover, recognising that this is not currently funded within the new licence fee settlement,” it said.

Continuing the retread of the commitments made by the Beeb, which recently was granted a six-year TV licence settlement that meant the fee was frozen at the same level until 2017, it will support the promotion of the broadband roll-out set out by the ConDem government.

But, given that the trust’s chairman Sir Michael Lyons is leaving in April next year, today’s report was light on detail. Instead the BBC executive team, which has been subjected to several strikes from disgruntled staff in recent months, will be required to do yet more navel-gazing.

“The BBC’s new licence fee settlement changes the picture somewhat,” noted the trust, in summing up.

“It is not realistic to expect that a 16 per cent budget reduction can be made in the space of four years without some changes to the range of services and activities being required.”

Which means Thompson, his underlings and the BBC’s governing body will need to work out a “realistic target” for the period from 2013/14 to 2016/17 to discuss how any outstanding funding gap can be filled.

In other words, there will be another strategy review. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.