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Round up, Monday 1 March 2010: "Corporation's web pages are to be halved"

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Paul Murphy Paul Murphy | 17:15 UK time, Monday, 1 March 2010

search_use_300.jpgFollowing up on their story last week about the blocking of open source implementations of RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) streaming in the iPlayer, The Register asked if the BBC's regulating body The BBC Trust would be looking at the matter and got this reply:

'"The decision to block open source plugins is a matter for BBC Management. The Trust has not received any complaints on this issue and has no plans to look into it further at present," a BBC Trust spokeswoman told The Register.'

There are ongoing conversations on the Internet blog, the iPlayer messageboards, the BBC Backstage mailing list and The Register itself among others.

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On the subject of The Register I particularly enjoyed Suits 2.0 will survive BBC's 'purge'. This leads me neatly to the leaking of the BBC's long awaited Strategy Review and its now well documented cuts at the end of last week.

Beehive City have some speculation on who might be responsible and who might benefit most from the leak. Most of the press attention has fallen on the closure of 6Music and the Asian Network but the bit of The Times' story that naturally caught this blog's attention was:

"The corporation's web pages are to be halved"

We were slightly perplexed by this as was nevali on the Tumbled Logic blog:
"I don't know what this means, and I build web sites for a living. People I know who build web sites for a living don't know what it means. People who work for the BBC don't know what it means. Nobody knows what it means because it makes no sense at all. How do you "halve" web pages? Is URI count the principal measure of a site's size? Or is it the amount of content? How much of it is generated automatically from things which the BBC has internally anyway? How much of it is user-generated? Once you take away News, Weather, iPlayer, the blogs, the message-boards, H2G2 and /programmes, what do you have left? Maybe the educational stuff should go? Or the games on CBeebies (as much as I dislike Flash, my three year old shares no such derision)? What about the BBC Food content? Sport? Where must the axe fall?"

The About the BBC blog has done a handy round up of coverage to date and more news will no doubt emerge later this week.

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In the meantime many individual user's attention has tended to look at the services that they themselves use. THis is from the Points of View messageboards:

"I know we like to moan about the clunking technology, the moderation, the Hosting, the rules, etcetera. But there's something about these BBC boards that keeps me coming back. I think it's because the majority of posters attracted here tend to be articulate, intelligent and mostly with a good sense of humour and 'camaraderie'...Don't axe us, Auntie!"

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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones reports on the recent spate of phising attacks on Twitter:

"The direct message from a Twitter friend read: "hey, i've been having better sex and longer with this here..." followed by a link to a website, which I chose not to follow."

*

Finally there's an interview with the BBC's CIO Tiffany Hall on the CIO magazine website:

'The role of the CIO at the BBC is a slicing and dicing of many of the traditional CIO functions. "Though it is a CIO job title the scope isn't necessarily what you would traditionally see, so within Future Media & Technology, there are colleagues of mine on the senior leadership team who deal with all the audience-facing technologies and I deal with all the technologies that are delivered to support the BBC staff in making the content and running the business," says Hall.'

Paul Murphy is the Editor of the BBC Internet blog. The picture is of the sign that lives above the search team who are located next door to the Internet blog.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Please keep the recipe web pages

    One of the suggestions is that the recipe web pages will be dropped. I can understand dropping high maintenance pages that contain news stories, but really recipes once written do not change and these pages are a good reference that in reality costs very little to keep on-line - so please do not scrap them.

    (I could see that providing paid for advertising from ingredients' suppliers might finance their upkeep so why not transfer them to the BBC's commercial arm - but please do not drop them.)

  • Comment number 2.

    #1. At 7:10pm on 01 Mar 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "Please keep the recipe web pages

    One of the suggestions is that the recipe web pages will be dropped. I can understand dropping high maintenance pages that contain news stories, but really recipes once written do not change and these pages are a good reference that in reality costs very little to keep on-line - so please do not scrap them."


    The problem is that such recipes could earn a commercial media company some income via print or the web, much of this review seems to be to appease failing commercial media companies as it is to do with BBC costs.

    When are people going to realise that the problem isn't the BBC but the explosion of commercial media companies all competing for the same slice of cake, the BBC is just a easy target as many people would love to see the back of the TVL...

    "(I could see that providing paid for advertising from ingredients' suppliers might finance their upkeep so why not transfer them to the BBC's commercial arm - but please do not drop them.)"

    The problem there is, unless the BBC Charter was changed no one in the URL would be allowed to see them (officially).

  • Comment number 3.

    The recipe pages are broadcast-related (there are lots of food programmes broadcast every year). Half of those programmes would be pointless if you couldn’t get the recipes from anywhere.

  • Comment number 4.

    #3. At 8:43pm on 01 Mar 2010, Mo wrote:

    "The recipe pages are broadcast-related (there are lots of food programmes broadcast every year). Half of those programmes would be pointless if you couldn’t get the recipes from anywhere."

    How ever did people cope before the internet, or come to that, Ceefax ;-P

    The way I read the situation is that no one is saying that the content won't be available, just that it might not be available in the same way or medium, digital text (BBCi) is eminently suited textual content such as recipes, so are weekly and monthly magazines..

  • Comment number 5.

    By wasting broadcast time displaying recipes on-screen?

    Guess which represents more value-for-money for the license-fee payer: BBCi, on-screen, or on a web server?

    Go on, take a wild guess.

    I’m not sure how you have “read the situation” given that the situation as presented by the news reports actually provides no useful information to the point of being nonsensical.

    As I understand it, there is, and has been for a while, a project to clean up the top-level directories on www.bbc.co.uk to aid manageability (amongst other things). The rumour is that this has ended up being turned into the Trust asking the BBC to “halve the website” in the leaked report. I could be wrong, however, but it’s no less plausible than any other theory which has been presented.

  • Comment number 6.

    #5. At 10:31pm on 01 Mar 2010, Mo wrote:

    "By wasting broadcast time displaying recipes on-screen?

    Guess which represents more value-for-money for the license-fee payer: BBCi, on-screen, or on a web server?"


    By showing them on air during the programme as, by definition, that allowed (almost) universal access, not all viewers will have an interactive (BBCi) TV capable TV and won't have until DSO is complete in 2012, whilst many do not have an IP device and even when they do they might not have IP conductivity, especially in a economic recession and it's aftermath....

  • Comment number 7.

    I think we're all missing the point. "Halving web pages" is just a headline grabbing term used by management to gloss up the changes publicly and dumb it down for the public. The more interesting change is cutting funding by 25% for all online content.

    Being a Web and Application Developer and heavy user of BBC online sources I'd be very interested to know where they intend to bring in the cuts. I don't really watch tv much, although we have a shared TV in our house, so cutting back severely on online content and services will severely damage the relationship that people like myself and others who similarly rely on their online content in their daily use.

  • Comment number 8.

    I've been playing Sportdaq for years, but I would understand if the Daq's needed to be removed, and to be honest some of the other less relevent stuff, such as H2G2, IMHO the website needs to be a resource to backup the content that the BBC broadcast on TV and Radio, finally, think of the resource required to Moderate Nick Robinson's newsblog, the staff must fill Broadcasting House!

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    A year ago, the announcement of the "BBC Trust approves BBC online budget" was characterised by the Guardian as "BBC to spend 27% more on web operation".

    Now that the BBC plans to cut its web operation costs by a reported 25%, does that mean things are back to business as usual, or what?

    Also, if things are to remain much as they were at the beginning of 2009, how does that square with the reported planned 50% reduction of webpages?

    Russ

  • Comment number 11.

    Russ Wrote...

    "A year ago, the announcement of the "BBC Trust approves BBC online budget" was characterised by the Guardian as "BBC to spend 27% more on web operation".

    Now that the BBC plans to cut its web operation costs by a reported 25%, does that mean things are back to business as usual, or what?

    Also, if things are to remain much as they were at the beginning of 2009, how does that square with the reported planned 50% reduction of webpages?"

    Thanks Russ, for making the point I so desperately want to make.

  • Comment number 12.

    No problemo, Fox Tucker. As a follow-up to my #10, I commend Malcolm Coles' easy-read guide to the Strategic Review, which puts a lot more clarity on the tabloid-esque "50% reduction in webpages".

    Russ

  • Comment number 13.

    Bring back Ceefax page 560 Cookbook Index? Ah, but then there are many Text pages that have been taken off since 2007 which are sorely missed.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'd be gutted if the recipes pages were axed? Is this true?

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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