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BBC Online budget to be cut by 25 percent

Confirmation that underperforming sites may be shut down

BBC Online’s budget will be slashed by 25 percent, the BBC Trust has confirmed.

In a strategy document released today, called ‘The BBC’s Strategy, Putting Quality First’, the Trust said that it is reducing BBC Online’s budget in an attempt to improve services.

“We will pursue a 25 percent reduction in the BBC Online budget, to improve the overall quality and coherence of the service and ‘do fewer things better’,” the Trust wrote in its report, adding that more details about the changes involved will be revealed “soon”.

It claims that the BBC’s strategy review was not planning to drastically cut the number of BBC services because there was “no external change in technology, funding or audience behaviour demanding any significant immediate reduction.”

However, the Trust does not believe that the BBC should launch any new services that are any more local than its current offerings, as it has committed to support future commercial providers of local television news.

The Trust will track the quality measures of BBC services, and said it expects to see an increase in BBC Online’s quality scores. It added that websites not meeting audience expectations for quality will be ‘improved’ or ‘closed’.

Despite the budget cuts, the BBC still plans to continue developing mobile apps for access to existing BBC Online content, that will be available on multiple mobile operating systems on a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis”.

It will also use the £150 million a year ring fenced within the licence fee funds to support the promotion of broadband rollout and take-up, as part of its commitment to increase public access to iPlayer and to build a ‘digital Britain’.

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