Sunday 19 May 2013
The BBC is to reshape BBC Online by 2013 to deliver its public service mission in the digital age.
The reorganisation will mean the service licence budget for BBC Online is reduced by a quarter. It will also require the closure of up to 360 posts.
The new plans, which set a much clearer digital agenda for the BBC, are the first step in the delivery of the BBC's strategy, Putting Quality First.
The changes, which have been approved by the BBC Trust, will deliver:
Under one unified strategy, BBC Online will be transformed into 10 distinctive products: News, Sport, Weather, CBeebies, CBBC, Knowledge & Learning, Radio & Music, TV & iPlayer, Homepage and Search. Each of them will share common technical features such as consistent design, improved navigation, and the ability for licence fee payers to personalise and access them across a range of devices, from computers and mobiles to tablets and TVs.
To deliver the new BBC Online, the BBC will implement new ways of working around product management, including enhanced collaboration between teams from editorial, technical, design and audience research.
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said: "BBC Online lies at the heart of the BBC's digital future. As in television and radio, licence fee payers look to the BBC to inform, educate and entertain them online. As digital technologies advance, internet delivery of content becomes more important and more profound in our lives.
"BBC Online is a huge success, but our vast portfolio of websites means we sometimes fall short of expectation. A refocusing on our editorial priorities, a commitment to the highest quality standards, and a more streamlined and collegiate way of working will help us transform BBC Online for the future.
"I know that these changes will be painful for affected staff. But I firmly believe that they are right for the BBC at this time."
The BBC is also announcing a reduction in scale and scope of the website and is spelling out areas of refocus, closures and reductions, along with clarity on areas BBC Online will not cover at all.
Editorial focus of the new BBC Online:
The BBC is announcing a set of closures and reductions as follows:
BBC Online will not:
The BBC Online service licence budget will be reduced by £34m from £137m today to £103m by 2013/14 (see note 1). As a result, there will be up to 360 proposed post closures which will be phased in over the next two years.
As announced by the BBC Trust in December last year, BBC Online's three-year strategy and business plan will be reviewed annually by the BBC Trust. In addition, BBC Online will engage with industry twice a year about its plans.
1. Financial: The 25% reduction (£34m) in the BBC Online service licence budget by 2013/14 is a part of the BBC's recently stated cost-cutting measures to deliver 20% savings as a result of the recent Licence Fee settlement, delivered early.
2. Management of BBC Online: The Online Direction Group (ODG), which is chaired by the Director of Future Media & Technology Erik Huggers, is responsible for ensuring that BBC Online meets the terms of its service licence. ODG is responsible for setting the editorial strategy for BBC Online, with Roly Keating, Director of Archive Content, acting as editorial lead on behalf of the Group, while Andy Conroy, General Manager for BBC Online, has operational management responsibility for the service. From 1 March, Ralph Rivera will assume the chairmanship of ODG following his appointment as Director of Future Media with a seat on the BBC's Executive Board. This follows a reorganisation of FM&T, announced last week, in the wake of Erik Huggers' departure at the end of February.
BBC Press Office