BY JAMES SIMONS
The BBC has announced it will close a number of websites, including BBC Food and Newsbeat, as part of plans to save £15m.
The online News Magazine will also close but “long-form journalism” will continue under a current affairs banner, the announcement included. The resource saving package also includes local news indexes for more than 40 geographical areas around the country, like the BBC’s Travel website.
An amalgamation of the News Channel with the BBC’s international 24-hour television news service is underway, as part of the new plans. Announcing the proposals, Head of BBC news and current affairs James Harding, said the internet required “the BBC to redefine itself, but not its mission”.
“We will stop doing some things where we’re duplicating our work, for example on food, and scale back services, such as travel, where there are bigger, better-resourced services in the market,” he said.
The online creative review, published on Wednesday, is aimed at saving more than £15 million, around 15% of the editorial budget. The proposals, subject to approval, includes the closure of the iWonder service, redeploying its formats across BBC Online. Also, an Integration of Newsbeat output into BBC News Online, but close the separate Newsbeat site and app. The running of local news index web pages will also cease, offering in its place, an open stream on the rolling Local Live service. Ring-fenced funding for iPlayer-only commissions.
Reducing digital radio and music social media activity and additional programme content that is not core to services, is also to be axed as part of the cost saving scheme. The BBC is one of the world’s most renowned corporation, because of its longstanding wide news coverage all over the world. The BBC has headquarters in almost every part of the world, and also has many branches in the UK.
However, the corporation has been subjected to much criticism in the wake of the Jimmy Saville scandal which rocked the corporation and shocked the nation. The BBC expressed its unreserved apology and regret over the sad and appalling crimes of pervert Saville and promised to overhaul the workings of the corporation. Since then, the government announced it was to regulate the corporation, instructing them to pursue news and not just view ratings, something the BBC denied was the case.
The news of the BBC closing its websites will raise questions as to whether it has been impacted heavily by the recent regulatory guidelines of the government, and also call for an examination into other broadcasting corporations like ITV and Channel 4, in terms of how they are managing if they have no plans to pursue similar cuts.
Existing recipes on The BBC Food website that total more than 11,000, will be archived, although the commercial BBC Good Food website will remain.
The BBC also said that archived recipes won’t be linked or optimized, consequently making them less accessible online. Some may move over to the Good Food website, but the BBC said a final decision over what goes where will be made over the next twelve months.The BBC’s [lans to close a number of websites seem to be here to stay. It is unlikely for objections voiced to change this.
An online petition to save the recipe archive has attracted more than 30,000 supporters, but this will not reverse the carefully thought out decision of The BBC. It is unclear why these changes are being made, but clearly there are financial issues at the heart of this decision. The BBC’s plan to close a number of websites highlight the increasing financial costs of maintaining online websites, particularly websites for broadcasters where huge amounts are spent on running those broadcasting channels, and given the costs of hiring staff for various aspects of the corporation. Only recently, the New day newspaper had to close down completely after barely months of its launch, in what was disappointing for the newly established paper.
Dan Lepard, a chef whose recipes appear on BBC Food, said the website was an “extraordinary, world-class archive” and posed the question, where were “our rights” to preserve such a “library”.
“With the BBC recipes, you know they work. I can tell you that loads of recipes out there, don’t work, will fail