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Changes to BBC Sport Online

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Ben Gallop Ben Gallop | 08:53 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

You may have seen already that the BBC has today announced a new strategy for BBC Online. If not you can read more about it here. As part of this, we are cutting the BBC's online budget by 25%.

I just wanted to spend a bit of time explaining what this means for the Sport website.

Cuts will mean a change to what we offer. However, I believe we have put together a strategy that will ensure BBC Sport can continue to deliver you a first-class service.

It means we have had to take some tough decisions about priorities. It's all about how in future we will focus on what is most important to our users.

From our research and our conversations with you we have found that the two elements of BBC Sport Online that are most important are:

  • Fast, reliable and in-depth news across a range of sports;
  • Dynamic coverage of the best live sports events.

So those are the areas we will be focusing on. We want to continue to enhance our sports journalism and to innovate around our event coverage - this is in line with the principles of the wider BBC strategy. And we want to link out more and act as a trusted guide to relevant sports content on other websites.

The flip-side of this, of course, is that we won't be able to do everything else we currently do - and there are some key areas of the web operation that will be scaled back:

  • The 606 website will close at the end of the current football season - instead the focus for audience interactivity will be on capturing the conversation around the biggest sports stories and events. It is worth stressing that the 606 radio show on 5 Live will continue - and we are considering ways for the audience to interact with 606 on the 5 Live website, focused around the radio programme;
  • The on-demand sports news video bulletin will go - video is a central part of our site, but we know the bulk of traffic goes to on-demand clips around stories and streams of live events. So that's where we will focus our efforts, rather than on a 'linear' bulletin of headlines;
  • The Sport Academy website will close - coverage of participation in sports will instead be incorporated within the individual sections of the Sport site;
  • There will be less coverage of those sports and events that fall outside our main editorial priorities. This does not mean we will stop covering them altogether, it's more a question of "turning down the volume" of what we do outside the biggest stories;
  • And in general we will continue the move to increasingly focus on core coverage of sports journalism and events - a process that has already begun with the closure of the Fun & Games section of the site last summer.

Obviously this announcement represents significant changes for the BBC Sport website - as you would expect, given that the whole of BBC Online is losing 25% of its budget. And we don't under-estimate the impact that they will have on some of our audience.

These have been difficult decisions and we're genuinely sorry we have had to scale back or even close some areas of our website that have built up a loyal following over the years. We have had to prioritise on those areas of our service that are of most value to our audience and which are consistent with the BBC's wider aims and objectives.

In particular the decision to close the 606 discussion website warrants more explanation.

The main reason why all these changes are being made to BBC Online is a financial one - the overall budget is being reduced so we need to cut our cloth accordingly. Instead of moderating and maintaining a site as large as 606, we can concentrate on our editorial priorities.

Alongside the overall online budget cuts, there are other strategic reasons for choosing this course of action. The fact is that technology and audience behaviour has moved on massively since we first launched the 606 site back in 2003. In those days there was no Facebook or Twitter and the 606 messageboards swiftly established a reputation as a place to come to discuss all kinds of issues in sport with fellow fans.

But things move on. The social media landscape has been transformed in recent years (as this handy map attempts to illustrate). And the emergence of new giants on this scene - each with that crucial commodity, critical audience mass - has seen 606's popularity fall from a peak of 1.1m unique users a week back in 2008 to around half that figure now.

When it comes to people who actually comment on the site, we have seen a similar trend. 606 now has around 15,000 'active users' a week - half the number the site was attracting in 2008.

By way of contrast, the audience for the main BBC Sport website has expanded steadily in the same period, from 9m users a week in 2008 to 12.5m now.

So in essence the Sport site has seen 33% growth over the past two-and-a-half years, while 606 has experienced a 50% fall.

These bare facts may be indicative of a downward trend - but there is still a significant audience for 606 and we know from feedback that there are users of the site who do appreciate it and feel connected to communities there. The fact is though that there are other messageboards, whether connected to specific sports or individual clubs, which offer this kind of debating platform for fans.

To be clear, we still want our users to comment on the big sports stories of the day, to get involved in debates on our blogs and to use the likes of Twitter to play an active part in our live text commentaries. And, of course, 606 the radio show will continue to provide the perfect platform for fans to have their say on the latest football action.

The changes we are announcing today will start to take effect in the spring, with the 606 website closing at the end of the football season.

For more context on the BBC's overall strategy for social media please visit my colleague Ian Hunter's blog. And you can of course have your say on the 606 announcement over on the 606 website.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    The main reason 606 users have fallen so dramatically is because you have done such an appalling job moderating the site. Proper discourse is impossible and the threads are over-run with WUMs. You really should be ashamed how you allowed the place to fall into ruin.

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Trying to avoid hyperbole but this is disastrous!

  • Comment number 4.

    "There will be less coverage of those sports and events that fall outside our main editorial priorities. This does not mean we will stop covering them altogether, it's more a question of "turning down the volume" of what we do outside the biggest stories;"

    So that's rugby league gone completely then?

    Going to miss 606 - cant take that much money to run it surely? maybe give older posters on each section of 606 the power to become a mod, many other online forums do the same.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well in that case I shall be boycotting the BBC website altogether when these changes take place.

    606 is the main reason why Myself like many 606 users come on to this website. It fills our day with sensible and intelligent debate over sporting issues that just can't be got anywhere else. How can a budget not stretch to being able to keep a forum open? Surely it doesn't cost that much to the BBC to run 606 online.

    I think the priorities are completely wrong.

  • Comment number 6.

    "There will be less coverage of those sports and events that fall outside our main editorial priorities. This does not mean we will stop covering them altogether, it's more a question of "turning down the volume" of what we do outside the biggest stories;"

    So does this mean coverage will focus on sports already well served by commercial providers at the expense of sports which aren't? How does this reflect the role of the BBC as a public service broadcaster?

    The BBC's online coverage of sports that wouldn't make it to TV or radio will be missed if reduced.

  • Comment number 7.

    Frankly, rather than "the biggest stories" I would have preferred the BBC to think about the smaller ones, the sports that get less mainstream coverage. It isn't the football or cricket or tennis fans who will be hit hardest by these cuts - they can find extensive coverage of their sports, and forums and blogs anywhere.

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    Ridiculous decisions once again by the BBC!

  • Comment number 10.

    Need to reduce the online budget by 25%?

    Simple solution.

    Stop paying for the ill-informed and pointless blogs by BBC "Journo's"

    Jobs a good un'.

    606 survives.

  • Comment number 11.

    cant ya Just keep a football forum open?

    The other sports arent commented on much anyway

  • Comment number 12.

    Come on Ben...

    First you put Coulthard with Brundle now axe 606?!

  • Comment number 13.

    606 was massively out of date design-wise and the usability was completely at odds with the majority of the BBC services. I'm not pleased to see it scrapped altogether, but hopefully it means these resources can be focused elsewhere.

  • Comment number 14.

    The 606 site is BBC sport in my eyes. other than that BBc sport is just another run of the mill sports site, no better than the 100s of others available.

    Shame on the BBC (Again)

  • Comment number 15.

    As the moderators just closed down a thread petitioning against the closure of 606, which had accumulated a considerable number of comments in a relatively short space of time, I move to suggest that fellow disgruntled 606ers show their support for the motion by treating this article as such:

    A petition against the closure of the 606 forums.

    Signed!

  • Comment number 16.

    I think I'd rather have my license fee frozen for 5 years than the 606 service. I think that the Government's clampdown on BBC spending is a good thing. It gives it a chance to keep the best and eject the rest. I hope that this will apply to presenters, too. *cough* Alan Hansen *cough*

  • Comment number 17.

    Whilst I agree with post 1 on the moderation issues, 606 is still a good addition to the site. Yet another one of the few aspects of the BBC I acutally use is disappearing yet I'm still forking out the same amount of cash as ever for the "privilege".

  • Comment number 18.

    As a regular 606 user I'm dismayed to hear the news.

    Right now however, my thoughts go out to the people who'll be losing their jobs as a result of this.

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Of course you will lose 50% of your 'actice users' when it takes 3 minutes to post? What's the point in it?

    606 could easily survive, you're just too bone idle to look after it.

    I'll give you £1 for it and i'll re-home it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Never mind - not the end of the World, is it........

  • Comment number 22.

    Shocking decision.

    606 could easily have its costs substantially reduced by cutting back on the fields it covers, by sticking to say the Premier and Football Leagues, SPL, F1, rugby union and league, cricket, tennis, the Olympics, and with other sports available on a temporary basis when the BBC is giving them substantial coverage, the NFL playoffs for instance.

    Costs could further have been saved by moving over to community-based moderation (the "captains" idea that was mooted a year or so ago, whereby one or two highly respected 606ers take over moderation responsibilities on each board, more for the bigger clubs). Issues such as defamation and those of a technical nature could be merged over to other departments.

    If traffic is decreasing, this would presumably mean that hosting costs could have been cut back, and that speed of service could be compromised. Reducing the number of articles per person per day would likewise help in this regard.

    In short, I'm convinced that savings of 40-50% could easily have been made. Instead, the BBC has decided to kill off the one service that allows healthy and usually good-natured debate between sports fans of different affiliations. For football in particular, an equivalent service simply does not exist, and it was my understanding that the BBC exists as a publicly funded service BECAUSE it can fill the gaps in these areas.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm in shock and disappointed!

    I agree with others above who say it shouldn't cost that much to run, and giving mod-authority to older users would be a way of enhancing the site, cutting down on WUMs and saving costs

    To get rid of it altogether is frustrating

    Yes there are other sites, but the mix of your own fans and opposition fans made 606 (for the most part) enjoyable!!

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    Absolutely disgusted

    606 is by far the best thing about the BBC web page , if cuts have to be made then slim down 606 but thousands upon thousands of posters who make so many comments shouldn't be disregarded

  • Comment number 26.

    Never mind - not the end of the World, is it......

  • Comment number 27.

    "The main reason 606 users have fallen so dramatically is because you have done such an appalling job moderating the site. Proper discourse is impossible and the threads are over-run with WUMs. You really should be ashamed how you allowed the place to fall into ruin."

    Here here!

  • Comment number 28.

    I stopped using 606 because of the ridiculous moderation. I once posted a message on the Arsenal board about what I thought Arsene Wenger was doing wrong, it was well-written constructive criticism, and the moderators removed it. A few weeks later, something similar happened when I posted on the Liverpool board. The inability of the moderators to distinguish between honest football discussion and WUMs made me decide to leave 606.

  • Comment number 29.

    "There will be less coverage of those sports and events that fall outside our main editorial priorities. This does not mean we will stop covering them altogether, it's more a question of "turning down the volume" of what we do outside the biggest stories;"

    I have to agree with Chris on this, it sounds like a decision acting in entirely the wrong direction. As public service broadcaster the BBC should be looking to cover areas that aren't necessarily well covered commercially, but this sound worryingly like a move to become even more of a football gossip and speculation site, of which there are plenty, at the cost of covering a broader sporting base.

  • Comment number 30.

    606 is just an online forum, I don't even see how it could cost that much to run.

  • Comment number 31.

    sadly agree with mycroft - all boards are infesting with troublesome posters, fake poster and WUMs - And it all centres around poor moderation and lack of attention to detail

  • Comment number 32.

    Well thanks a lot BBC. For the most part I think 606 is fantastic, I've had some great debates on here. If you close it you're gonna lose a lot of visitors, including me, I might add. Idiotic decision.

  • Comment number 33.

    Does it cost that much to run 606?

    Here are some other cuts the BBC could do instead:

    Garth Crooks
    Mark Bright
    Lawro's predictions (although in a way they are hilarious)
    Phil McNulty and his insightful posts
    Late Kick-Off (how is this not a Channel 5 program)
    Alan Shearer
    Colin Murray
    oh and Strictly Come Dancing (isn't the whole point of the BBC to make educational, informative, quality programming that has no desire for TV ratings? That's for ITV to cover)

  • Comment number 34.

    As the first comment states, the reason why users of 606 turned away are because of the ridiculous moderation process not to mention the appalling quality of articles from "journalists" such as Phil McNulty.

    The BBC have lost touch with their audiences in general anyway. While Channel 4 go on making ground breaking TV shows and ITV rake in the money through marketing, the BBC are churning out period dramas that no one wants to watch.

    Completely out of touch.

  • Comment number 35.

    Facebook and Twitter are not sports forums. Instead of closing 606, why did the BBC not look at ways that the site could be continued in an independent way, rather than being throttled like this? Why not ask users their opinions instead of putting up this message saying it was being dicontinued? Disgraceful.

  • Comment number 36.

    i understand that you have to make cut backs as i work in local government and we are the same, but to get rid of 606 is a massive mistake. I dont know if you can stream line it in some way, maybe lose some of the less popular sports, but to lose it all together should not happen. It is the best thing about the BBC sport website and is main reason i keep coming back, as there are other sports websites far superior to the BBC. I think a review is needed!!

  • Comment number 37.

    What does it cost to run 606 in terms of server time, upkeep, etc?

    Is there a cost entailed in keeping moderators? A large majority of sites that are moderated are done by volunteers (one of sons carries this out for a U.S. website), can the same be carried out on 606?

  • Comment number 38.

    You can not take away 606! I love the 606 website! You can not seriously be considering keeping some of the rubbish on here and cutting the best thing about the website! I don't care if people agree I love 606 to stop the service is scandalous! It's pretty much what brings me back to the BBC sport website countless times a day! I really think you should re-consider this decision!

  • Comment number 39.

    How can closing 606 save that much money? If you take away the moderators which must be a chunk of the budget all you will do is improve the site as they are pretty clueless anyway.

    Another way would be to actually get the articles you post correct in the first place, the amount of errors in articles in unbeielveable and not having to pay someone to correct all these constantly must save a fortune.

  • Comment number 40.

    REGISTER YOUR DISCONTENT!

    SAVE 606!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A80161733

  • Comment number 41.

    Typical.... budget cuts stifle fan debate and comment, and will also undoubtedly impact the smaller sports who's followers probably find it hard enough already to keep up with news. Shame on you.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    Disappointed to hear 606 is being closed. Part of the reason the number of users has fallen - as a previous poster pointed out - is due to the number of times threads get overtaken by WUMs and posters whose aim is merely to insult everyone rather than contribute anything constructive. This sort of behaviour seems to have increased and reporting the offenders does not have much effect. Equally, there are many other contributers who have had posts deleted by the rather inconsistent moderators for the most trivial reasons - at various points the Rafateers have had our thread taken down for the heinous crime of posting the odd phrase in Spanish on a thread about a Spanish tennis player!
    Having said that there are plenty of threads full of sensible conversations and friendly banter. As someone who spends most of my time on 606 "Rafateering" on the tennis forum, it will be strange to log in in May and no longer be able to post there, but we are already getting our heads together to find somewhere else to catch up with each other.

  • Comment number 44.

    So it's been decided to keep the news section, which generally breaks news 24 hours after local papers' sites and to abandon the one useful aspect of the sport site. All this will render the BBC Sport Website about as engaging as the BBC Music Website.

  • Comment number 45.

    What a ridiculous decision. 606 is widely used, which also suggests that it is widely loved. Taking away this excellent public service is totally unjustifiable in terms of cost. Shame on the BBC.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'll not bother with the BBC site anymore when its gone then, like most people I come on here for the banter, with other fans around the UK.

  • Comment number 47.

    Sorry, this is just daft. The banter you get on the 606 forums just cannot be got anywhere else - in the past couple of years, Colchester United fans have had a reasonable amount of cajoling over the whole Paul Lambert-gate. This is just something that cannot be got by anywhere else.

    Whilst Colchester United have an official forum now, that is just full of Pro-Pro Colchester fans and there is no input from other fans.

    This is what makes 606 unique and, generally, an enjoyable read - the interaction between opposing fans, on the same topics, is just so more interesting than an Offical Message Board.

    I can't honestly see how it costs that much to run. Frankly, if you're struggling to run it, I'd do it by myself.

    Also think what else you're breaking up - on the Colchester 606 board, there are a great number of people who have met other people through 606, and also we have our own expertly run Prediction League. This does not only involve Colchester United fans - there are fans of other clubs that get involved with that too.

    It would be like me coming around to your village and barricading everyone in their houses, never to speak again. It's destroying a community, and I can't really see how it's going to save that much money to be honest.

    I would also partially agree with the comment on BBC Bloggers - with the greatest respect to Phil McNulty, whilst I've no doubt he's a good enough bloke, do we really want to read one person's views on whether Tottenham Hotspur are good enough to win the title, or whether an injury to Rooney will destabilise him or Manchester United? Personally, and I think many others would agree, we would rather read a collection of opinions from REAL fans of each club, to discuss the matters.

    Furthermore, this is tightening more and more on fans of lesser clubs or sports - take Colchester again. Whilst they're not likely to be in the Premier League (or the Championship, but that's another story!) any time soon, why is it that they can't put on more of a show than your Chelseas and your Arsenals? I watched the Colchester vs. Bournemouth game live on Sky Sports the other week, and that was by far a more entertaining fixture than, for example, a number of so called "Best League In The World Premier League Yes It's The Best Come On Have Some More" Premier League dross that gets handed out on a regular basis.

    Please think more carefully about this. You're hurting a lot more people and breaking up relationships that 606 created that are being removed for saving a ha'penny.

    On another argument, if it's the moderating of 606 that's costing all the money - above this comment I'm writing, I can see two comments "awaiting moderation" and two removed for "breaking the house rules". So these moderators are employed and do their job - surely doing the same on 606 can't take that much more time?

  • Comment number 48.

    Why are you trying to stifle debate on this issue by premoderation?

    Why have you closed the petition article?

    I think there is no doubt somebody will move in to cover the gap left by 606, it's a shame you do not want to be part of this BBC.

  • Comment number 49.

    I aint paying my T.V license fee then!

    (spit's out dummy and walks off)

  • Comment number 50.

    cmon bbc get a grip----a couple years ago you closed down the uk and world mb's which were well used now 606----for those of us overseas its a way of discussing issues with people back home.you are killing the best things on here

  • Comment number 51.

    really cannot understand why 606 boards are closing - i know from experience that it doesnt cost much to run - 15,000 users a week - in hosting terms and traffic thats nothing - invite seniour members to be mods and it becomes self-policing - those 15,000 are not simply going to stop posting - they'll go somewhere - and since they wont be on a bbc site they are going to be *far* more critical of anything beeb related - you have been warned ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    A further nail in the coffin of boxing coverage on the beeb then. The website is pretty much the only place boxing is acknowledged across the whole of the BBC (Steve Bunce's fine BBC London show and the odd jolly to Vegas for Five Live aside). But Boxing will clearly fall into the category of "Less coverage of those sports and events that fall outside our main editorial priorities."

    Shame.

  • Comment number 53.

    Actually I agree with changes!
    I was most worried about loss of text commentaries, my favourite part of the entire BBC online output and what I rely on to follow major sporting action when I am at work, on train, at the shopping mall etc etc...

  • Comment number 54.

    It will be a shame to say goodbye to virtual friends, new and old, whom I have 'met' and come to know through our interaction and exchange of views on this website.

    Still, every cloud has a silver lining. I suppose this news means that the wonderful 606 Mods will now be able to concentrate full-time on their day jobs as Traffic Wardens.

  • Comment number 55.

    The fact that my comment has been referred to the moderators tells you enough really. I criticised the use of moderation and my comment is gone. Nice one BBC, you really know how to keep in touch with your audiences.

  • Comment number 56.

    Your loss could potentially be our gain. A 606 replica could be well on it's way, watch this space!

  • Comment number 57.

    It would be interesting to see the amount of 606 commenters before and after the 'revamp' a few years back. I agree that the BBC has not really handled the website very well and is too concerned with moderating everyone. Does this budget cut mean that the TV licence fee will be reduced? If not, where is the extra money going that cutting the online budget saves? I'm not calling for the TV license fee to be scrapped, I understand and believe in the reason for its existence; but it would be nice to see some transparency with the distribution. This is a shame to see an online community dissappear, as I believe the BBC could have had a great role to play in encouraging discourse in general (Not just sport) via a global online message board. I'll give it three years and another 'budget reshuffle' for the BBC to realise their mistake and create such a forum.

  • Comment number 58.

    To be honest the quality of football discussions is pretty poor on 606 and like many others have stated it is inadequately moderated which explains why many have left. Unfortunately now it is the home of wind up merchants and people who should be using their time productively, maybe they will now get a life....

  • Comment number 59.

    Totally agree with getting rid of 606. Complete waste of time - there are many better options elsewhere on the internet for comment and debate, both in terms of the design of the forums and in terms of the type of poster they attract.

  • Comment number 60.

    As I see it, the loss of 606 may not have much of an impact on UK users, but us ex-pats around the world who use it, and there are literally thousands of us who do, this will be a huge loss. The ability to interact and hold debates with people nearer home (UK residents)will disappear.
    As poster #1, #5 and to a degree #10 have said, the BBC really need to look at the moderating side of things, the pointless (sometimes drivel) blogs by "journo's" who seem not to understand the sports they are supposed to represent and stronger control; over "wums", bad language (as often as not covered up by different spellings and/or ****), and, to a lesser degree, racist remarks made in the name of "fan base coverage.
    Having said that, will this post get past the moderators because of my criticism of them?
    We will see in about 30 minutes!

  • Comment number 61.

    I read that, while 606 is to be scrapped, the BBC will keep both CBeebies and CBBC as part of BBC Online. How can this be justified? Children don't need two BBC websites - and they should be playing with toys rather than surfing the net anyway!

  • Comment number 62.

    This is a very poor decision by the BBC. Surely there should be some form of consultation on this. You made the same mistakes with the radio stations you were cutting back on.

    The 606 website is the best part of the online sports website. It provides more insightful analysis and commentary and debate than anything else the sports site provides. If you close it down, I for one will never return to the BBC sports website

  • Comment number 63.

    another shocking bbc move, you lot really dont think do you, at the end of the day its tax payers money that go too the bbc through the government so if we want it kept open we should have the right too do so

  • Comment number 64.

    The sad thing is, All these comments on here against the closing of 606 will make no difference what so ever. Dont expect the BBC to suddenly back down and leave 606 open.

  • Comment number 65.

    Not sorry to 606 go. It has way to much football content which should have been replaced years ago.

    Maybe consideration should be given to getting rid of the 606 Radio programmes. Most of which are banal and pointless.

    You could also make significant saving in football coverage. Most the football coverage is of tha poor quality. Really the SPL and quite alot of the EPL should not be given any coverage at all.

    The Sport Academy website will close -

    Shame this is going however I was never really sure what or who this was aimed at.

    The cuts overall are aimed at the wrong content which is a shame.

  • Comment number 66.

    Whilst I agree with the first poster that the standard of 606 has declined to a degree and has been invaded by the serial wum. There are still plenty of people who are able to have reasoned debate. I would also add that it can be highly informative and I have broadened my knowledge of the sport I love,rugby, by talking to others who have a greater understanding.
    The blogger mentions that that online communities have moved on with the introduction of facebook and twitter. However, twitter is not for in depth analysis or debates but short sound bites. It would take forever to have a discussion on a match. As for facebook, I personally have no desire or inclination to use it.

    I am also concerned that the BBC is reducing it's online video usage. On the one hand the BBC says that it wishes to keep up with modern technology and thinking but on the other hand it decides to eliminate a vital tool of journalism. A picture can say a thousand words. Which is extremely valuable when I have come across recent written match reports which were completely inaccurate and the author did not bother to check the details.

    As others have mentioned, it would cost relatively little to maintain 606, probably less than the woman who does the 60 sec news slots on the BBC...is that her only job as I have not seen her elsewhere? Or do the BBC need Jeremy Vine to front Panorama, is he really integral to the program ? Surely the BBC could save a great deal of money by going straight into the report or letting the person who is investigating on something introduce it as well? Is that not more of a waste of tax payers money ?

    Mark Thompson is out of touch with public thinking and should remember that the BBC is a public service broadcaster. To reduce the coverage of sport or means for people to engage in it is wrong.

    Why doesn't he reduce his own salary by 25 %

  • Comment number 67.

    ridiculous decision although typical of the BBCs recent decisions regarding its sports coverage, which has declined alarmingly in recent years

    quite frankly there won't be any point in coming on the BBC Sport website again. I shall delete from my favourites and just bookmark the sky sports website instead.

    just how much money will actually be saved by axing these forums which are basically run by the comments of the general public anyway!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Well, I suppose this is one way of the BBC helping the economy as I'm sure productivity will increase as people will have to work now.

    Do we know who made this decision?

  • Comment number 69.

    "...From our research and our conversations with you we have found that the two elements of BBC Sport Online that are most important are:

    * Fast, reliable and in-depth news across a range of sports;
    ........

    * The 606 website will close at the end of the current football season - instead the focus for audience interactivity will be on capturing the conversation around the biggest sports stories and events..."

    Ah, is that a euphemisim for "...the BBC is run by people who don't really like sport, have no interest in local matters and are mostly only interesed in 'the big picture' ?

    Licence fee payers, come from all over the UK. Why should somebody from Dorset want to be deluged by London and Lancashire for their football-fix? The reason there are so many glory-hunters, is because the press and the BBC, stopped their coverage of all levels of football, which led to kids growing up, not seeing or hearing anything about their local sports people but being submitted to a deluge of diatribe of '"the top teams"

    You jumped on the Ellen Macarthur boat - along with the rest of the media - a few years back, because she became famous across the channel for her 2nd place in the Vendee. Then the so-called sports reporters and pundits, wondered why the RYA gave Ben Ainslie their yachtsman of the year (this was pre his Olympics medal) this is a typical example of poor sports journalism.

    Not a lot of coverage of Hampshire and Somerset playing in the T20 in the Caribbean on the BBC Sport sections (well done Solent and Kevan James) but I bet if it were Essex/Middlessex/Surrey/Lancs/Yorks it would be front page news on the Cricket section of BBC Sport.

    Best thing that could happen to Auntie? Sold. I resent being forcibly taxed to pay for such narrowly-focused and biased coverage, not just of sport but of the general news too.

  • Comment number 70.

    I just found this post, which was made by a 606 Manager back on the 27th Jan 2007:

    "[...] a better idea of whether this site is 'working' or not is the amount of content being posted up - this is currently about 15000 contributions a week. Yes, it's a lot less than we used to get on 606 - but I woul dhave to disagree that it is a 'very small amount of created content'"

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A19300763

    So, could someone please tell me the difference between "contributions" and "active users". If anything, one would think "active users" would be likely to make more contributions than one, and that would raise a few question marks over the data we are being provided when they say "When it comes to people who actually comment on the site, we have seen a similar trend. 606 now has around 15,000 'active users' a week - half the number the site was attracting in 2008."

    Alternatively, could someone at the BBC clarify how many "contributions" those "active users" are making now?

    All in the name of transparency, which I would think is the least the BBC owes us.


  • Comment number 71.

    Why should the users of 606 suffer as a result of the poor quality of sports journalism within BBC? Wouldn't it be better to look at reducing the amount of dross and knee jerk reactionary hyper bole that is evident on the sports pages (particularly the football ones).

  • Comment number 72.

    I could never understand why the BBC I-Player is free to use. If the BBC charged a subscription, plus put discrete advertising on the website then surely the cash could be raised to maintain things like 606?

  • Comment number 73.

    'Active Users'

    You havent taken into consideration of the people that don't post on the boards, and just read the opinions of people and enjoy that.

    Why not link up with these 'Social Networking sites', let them do a bit of advertising, and let them provide bandwidth or maintanence costs. Good merger?

    The moderation is poor yes, some articles do need it, but I personally have put a few articles up and have been removed for no reason.

    I cant see how you cant cut costs more / in other areas, when eliminating this small cost. I would like to see the average time spent on the bbc sport website per 'active user' before and after 606 gets removed.

  • Comment number 74.

    So our TV licences keep going up, and now you're taking away what I spend most of my free time on.

    I don't watch much TV, but I spend a lot of time on 606. I learn a lot from 606, I've made friends on here, you see people helping other people out (e.g away fans asking for tips, places to go etc). Now you're deciding to take it away from us. Crazyness.

    How about you make cuts elsewhere?! Cuts which wont drastically cut the number of hits the site receives. I for one will refuse to use the BBC website for anything, instead I'll use Sky.

  • Comment number 75.

    Good, Huddersfield fans can't no longer embarass themselves every season with inflated predictions. To be honest, it's no great loss.

  • Comment number 76.

    Given the quoted figure of 15,000 'active users' a week this is a no brainer.

    I never knew the total 'active users' was so low. Even 30,000 'active users' a week is lower than I expected.

    How did the BBC get away with wasting so much money on 606 for this long.

    There is clearly much more than 1,500,000 licence fee payers in the UK. So realistically the number of current 'active users' per week is well below 1% of the total people who pay the TV licence.

    I may like and make good use of 606 but it is a disgrace that the BBC would continue to pander to such a small minority.

    I wish smokers had that much handed to them and smokers make up almost a quarter of the population let alone less than 1% of the TV licence fee payers.

    So given the facts and figures I can't defend the BBC keeping 606 and it seems that it should go.

    At last some brains from the BBC. I just wish it had've been sooner given the amount of waste. And that doesn't even take into account all the 606 staff taxi expenses.

  • Comment number 77.

    606 has been a dying beast for years now. On a Saturday afternoon its used for little more than trolling and posting links to websites illegally streaming games. Its overblown, doesn't really fill any of the 'inform, educate, entertain' ideals the BBC used to have and doesn't fill a gap in the market any more. The BBC Sport website is good and will improve now that resources aren't being pumped into an area of the website that is past its use by date.

  • Comment number 78.

    How about using some of the money you're cutting to actually buy some Premiership Football?

  • Comment number 79.

    Absurd decision.

    So all the solutions I suggested many months ago have been ignored. The £145 lifetime licence for decent forum software, peer moderation, user filtering of problematic users…

    Actually, I'm now disgusted because the problem with 606 is the BBC and its lack of understanding. They way the BBC has let 606 take a nosedive is nothing short of incompetence.


    How about getting rid of all the MoTD commentators? Use the ones the EPL provides. The three or four pundits, when one or two would be fine, are a disgraceful waste of money. Hanson's stupid predictions...


    How about cutting your taxi trips in half?


    The 25% cut of your budget does not have to mean a 25% cut in services. We all know wages make up the vast amount of costs relating to products and services - there is your starting point.


    Ridiculous.

    And I'll assume HYS, with its pointless daily dumbed down topics, is also facing the chop.


    I use to run a forum with 3,000 users. It cost us £200 per year. It was back in the days when hosting was expensive.

    Gobsmacked.


    Facebook is only used by 10% of the worlds population. 90% of those users are under 25 years old. The vast majority stop visiting Facebook within 12 months of joining. But of course BBC, you already know this.

    Twitter will be dead in a few years and is only use as a celebrity mouthpiece.

    You may as well chop 100% of the BBC's "services". I'll have no reason to come here after the end of the season.

    So, so angry.

  • Comment number 80.

    Save 606. It is poorly moderated, full of WUMs and all, but it has soem cracking users. Sack all the awful and unnecessary pundits, save 606. BBC aims to move forward by cutting off internet sites!? Eh!?

  • Comment number 81.

    An absolutely shocking decision. Thousands upon thousands use the 606 website for comment, debate, news and information. There are other areas of service that could certainly be sacrificed that would not affect so many. Why is it, that when cutbacks are essential, the BBC choose to close down the most interesting, useful and interesting service that thousands use as part of their lives?

    How about cutting out pundits like Shearer, Crooks, Bright etc etc who really contribute very little in terms of their predictable, mundane assessments of each game.


    Has there been any proper consultation about this decision with its users? Or is it again a random decision taken without due thought, and complete disregard for its users? Appalling.

  • Comment number 82.

    It should be kept.

    Nowhere else that I am aware of do you get such a wide range of fans, both of different teams and sports.

    Would be interesting to know just how much the site costs to run.

  • Comment number 83.

    To be honest the 606 site has not been the same as it was in the beginning, for a quite a while. Somehow it seemed to lose its way. Especially with the moderators. The wind up merchants and the very young who could not learn (or would not) the art of debate, who just resorted to call people names, if agreement could not be reached and other such rhetoric,or wanting to declare war with opposing teams, just did not help. Lack of information from the moderators at times was very puzzling. It seemed that while we, if we were bring an article to there attention, would have to categorize our complaint. When moderating they in turn just said it broke a rule with no other explanation. Sometimes it was difficult if not impossible to see what rule that was being broken. I know that possibly, they were trying to avoid debate as to if something was breaking the rules or not. Unfortunately in my opinion a vast majority of people would go out of there way to try and not break the rules, only to find that there efforts were thwarted through lack of information. I guess though now we will not have to worry about that, shame really......

  • Comment number 84.

    Axe the 606 messageboard and i shall boycott the BBC website altogether!!!

  • Comment number 85.

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

  • Comment number 86.

    The constant allowing of Rugby Union threads on the Rugby League board was a problem the BBC moderators seemed to ignore. every time i complained about these union threads the answer came back that they do not contravene house rules. of course they contravene house they are Rugby Union threads on the Rugby League board.

  • Comment number 87.

    I do not comment regularly on 606 but read it everyday. I shall miss it when it goes and like many others, I wonder wether this is to protect the plethera of journalists and pundits the BBC Sports department employs! Some names have already been suggested so I won't add to those but would suggest we have only one MOTD per week plus the football league show can go unless it can improve it's quality.

  • Comment number 88.

    1. At 11:45am on 24 Jan 2011, Mycroft wrote:
    The main reason 606 users have fallen so dramatically is because you have done such an appalling job moderating the site. Proper discourse is impossible and the threads are over-run with WUMs. You really should be ashamed how you allowed the place to fall into ruin.


    Says it all really

  • Comment number 89.

    BBC disappoints us once again, instead of halting the funds for the total garbage they televise, they cut out a website enabling thousands of sports fans from sharing information and opinion.

  • Comment number 90.

    Server too busy!

    Sorry! We're unable to bring you the page you're looking for right now. This is probably because our site has suddenly got very busy. Please do try again in a few minutes.

    --

    Kind if ironic really....

  • Comment number 91.

    Here's me just thinking how much I enjoy reading about all the clubs on 606 and now it's going. Why not have volunteer moderators and allow the message boards to continue?

  • Comment number 92.

    why are you cutting the only thing bbc is superior at when it comes to football coverage.

    You don't deliver Fast, reliable and in-depth news across a range of sports and I'd harly call your sports coverage Dynamic.

    As many people have said, if your looking for cuts to be made, cut out the large salarys given to your pundits

  • Comment number 93.

    Disgraceful if you close 606...the MODS have ruined it anyway so no wonder numbers have gone down..you cant anything these days without being pulled off

  • Comment number 94.

    What a simply dreadful decision making process you must have.

    You are a public service broadcaster and the whole point of that is that you DON'T have to pander to the masses to justify advertising revenues and be seen to hit high ratings acrosss the board to justify your existence.

    Yet your entire message quite clearly says that you will begin to scale down the coverage of smaller sports and focus on the very big stories that we can all find in milliseconds on google. The reason so many people (me included) continue to defend the BBC in the face of adversity from all corners about "Being relevant" is that you are supposed to cater for all, not just football fans.

    You are very much in danger of becoming an irrelevance in the current climate of attack by the Tories and their News Corp supports, yet at the first hurdle you pretty much do exactly what they want: scale down anything that is not traffic hungry irrespective of the fact that those same stories are available everywhere.

    Well done BBC, you have two guns and they're pointed at both your feet. Decisions like this are the beginning of the end.

  • Comment number 95.

    15,000 contributers a week...i.e. people that log in a nd post...however I would guess the number of viewers is much much greater. And these viewers won't just view 606, I have no doubt that the 12.5m hits mentioned in the article above, a decent number will come via 606, this traffic will be lost, If I'm using an ITV forum and I want to read a real article I will jsu click though to the ITV site.

    An interesting statistic would be how many people per week click on the BBC links in the top left corners of 606 pages to get through to the main site...because BBC you will lose 90% of that traffic

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    This is a dreadful decision

    The 606 boards are simple and cheap and are the only place where fans of different sports and teams can mix and discuss

    This is something no other organisation provides - exactly what the BBC is supposed to do

    606 phone in meanwhile, is exactly what other services provide and does not offer anything any different - and the quality of the phone in programmes is tripe

    Disgusted at this

  • Comment number 98.

    Was never a huge fan if the site anyway but it was at times useful to get a quick bit of news which may not have been uploaded to other sites just as quickly.

    The changes outlined here are a disgrace but in particular the closure of 606.

  • Comment number 99.

    Stopping 606? This is just plain wrong!

    How am I supposed to vent my spleen and share my expletives and call people names?

    606 must live!

    LONG LIVE 606!

  • Comment number 100.

    So a website that 'only' has 550,000 users is being closed down. What a shame.

    It would have been nice to have been polled or something to see how us 15,000 daily users feel about the shutdown. As mentioned above, Facebook and Twitter fulfill a different role to a site dedicated to sports discussion. This year's World Cup alone, was a real event on 606, bringing rival fans together with live responses, witty comments, camaraderie and interesting and uniquely written articles.

    Much as I don't like to say it - why not shorten the hours it's open? Sometimes it's a shame it shuts to comments so early but if it meant keeping the thing going I would be prepared for shorter hours than none at all!

 

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