BBC cuts 25% of online budget, 360 jobs to go

The BBC yesterday announced plans to cut spending on their online services by 25%, resulting in a loss of 360 jobs. The cuts are a part of the BBC's plan to cut overall spending by almost 20%, following a license fee settlement in October that froze the current cost of a TV license for the next six years.

Among the casualties include community sites 606 and h2g2, as well as teenage website Switch and Bait. While iPlayer is minimally affected, there will be a shift away from staff-written content on programme-specific pages towards automated content, as well as on lesser-known radio station pages such as 5 Live and 1Xtra. In terms of main content, the cuts will see the news pages filled with less celebrity and sports news, but instead more of a focus will be placed on art and culture news. Features and editorials from local news sections will be scrapped entirely. In total, 180 websites are expected to close their doors.

The BBC defended the move as being a way of reducing its online presence to avoid competition with commercial websites. Director of archive content Roly Keating said "we just don't need" the scrapped sites, adding that the website as a whole should become easier to navigate. As a part of the cuts, the BBC also hope to reach 22 million external referral links per month by 2013.

The cuts have seen backlash from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), of whom secretary Jeremy Dear said in a statement:

The attack on BBC jobs and online services shows the BBC's contempt for hard-working staff. It makes no sense to cut back the BBC website as increasing numbers of people rely on the internet. The NUJ will not stand by idly if members are forced out of their jobs.

The majority of changes are expected to be made within a year from February 2013.

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23 Comments

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Nice cutbacks.
In Denmark, one is [nearly] forced to paying for the national TV station which now offers far too much useless shows like X Factor. Reality TV should be banned from this station if you ask me.
So I would like them to cut back on similar things as BBC is doing . Less celebrity bs, more important news, culture programs and such

Yakuzing said,
Nice cutbacks.
In Denmark, one is [nearly] forced to paying for the national TV station which now offers far too much useless shows like X Factor. Reality TV should be banned from this station if you ask me.
I guess they're trying to appeal to the masses, as they're the ones paying. They'd probably have something to say if they felt what was on offer was of no interest to them.

Gothic_Rebel said,
More cuts to save, yet they are spending millions on 3 new buildings in Salford.
They're not mutually exclusive events, and not even the same area.

Kirkburn said,
They're not mutually exclusive events, and not even the same area.

Exclusive or not, 360 Jobs are gonna be lost. Yet 3 Multimillion Pound Buildings just been built.

Gothic_Rebel said,
Exclusive or not, 360 Jobs are gonna be lost. Yet 3 Multimillion Pound Buildings just been built.
And? What's your point? All new development must stop in order to keep job positions that aren't desired? I don't like the concept of people losing jobs either, fwiw - but it's not a reason to stop all work.

Breach said,
That's a shame, BBC remains one of the relatively unbiased news sources.
There is a debate to be had with respect to just how unbiased it is.

Breach said,
That's a shame, BBC remains one of the relatively unbiased news sources.

You are kidding right, The BBC is pro-labour propaganda machine, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...nge-says-Peter-Sissons.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...DNA-says-Peter-Sissons.html and it even worse in Scotland as BBC Scotland are always putting down the SNP Goverment. And yes I am a proud SNP voter and sick of the BBC/BBC Scotland with it's lies and misinformation about the SNP.

Edited by src, Jan 25 2011, 1:59pm : another url

src said,

You are kidding right, The BBC is pro-labour propaganda machine

I suppose that counters the Murdock pro-conservative machine then. Seriously though, no news source can be truly unbiased because it's written by humans who all have natural prejudices. Personally I prefer the blog sphere and the BBC in equal measure.

Yup, because Peter Sissons (who I do respect) says so, it must be. Nevermind that individual people have biases and view situations in that light, and your sources are the Daily Mail, and you're a 'proud SNP voter'.

If you want to complain about bias: don't proudly announce your own bias, choose biased sources, or choose sources based on a single person's opinion.

Kirkburn said,
Yup, because Peter Sissons (who I do respect) says so, it must be. Nevermind that individual people have biases and view situations in that light, and your sources are the Daily Mail, and you're a 'proud SNP voter'.

If you want to complain about bias: don't proudly announce your own bias, choose biased sources, or choose sources based on a single person's opinion.

Robin Aitken a former BBC journalist view on bias of the BBC:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_WEZloX2fQ
I could post all day the bias of the BBC and there is little point in complaining to the BBC as this just is a waste of time as many 1000's of people have found.

I like how that video starts: "but does it represent the British people and their views". If it did, that would be almost the definition of bias. Plus, again, biased source (conservative channel).

The BBC being okay with things like multiculturalism isn't because of bias, but an inherent fact of it intentionally not being biased to any one group of people.

Neobond said,
606 is no loss really.

To be honest the cuts don't sound too awful, except for the fact that people are losing their jobs.

Mike Brown said,

To be honest the cuts don't sound too awful, except for the fact that people are losing their jobs.

Normally in these situations people don't literally become unemployed, they just get moved to a different department or early retirement or at the least get a significant pay off, so its not really that bad.

Plus the bbc still has same budget, so they spend exactly same amount of money, just more efficiently.

Martin5000 said,

Normally in these situations people don't literally become unemployed, they just get moved to a different department or early retirement or at the least get a significant pay off, so its not really that bad.


Ah right, I didn't know that.
Plus the bbc still has same budget, so they spend exactly same amount of money, just more efficiently.
Where did you hear that? The BBC are saying they are making cuts of 16% overall, unless I've misunderstood what they mean by that.

180 websites, if that is also representative of a 25% cut the BBC owns a whole lotta websites that I had no idea even existed.

Unless they are referring to microsites? I couldn't work it out yesterday when this was announced either

Teebor said,
Unless they are referring to microsites? I couldn't work it out yesterday when this was announced either
I do believe microsites (as in, areas within bbc.co.uk) are what it is mostly referring to.

Teebor said,
180 websites, if that is also representative of a 25% cut the BBC owns a whole lotta websites that I had no idea even existed.

Unless they are referring to microsites? I couldn't work it out yesterday when this was announced either


It will probably include a lot of actual websites as well, such as the many made for Doctor Who over the years. Anyone remember BadWolf.org.uk?

Big shame however it's the direction they've been going in for a while. I still miss their film reviews section that was dropped a while back. It was a really good source of unbiased credible reviews.

Hopefully the main news section of the site will be largely unaffected. I'd be gutted if they started cutting back on that.