The BBC has confirmed plans to close a raft of online services under plans to save £15m and become “truly distinctive”.
As well as closing its popular Food recipes website, the BBC will also close down factual and educational brand iWonder and the separate Newsbeat website and app.
It follows a review of the BBC’s online operations led by James Harding, director of BBC News and Current Affairs, and aims to set out “a route to a more focused and distinctive service”.
The online proposals in full are:
- Close the Salford-based iWonder service, redeploying its formats across BBC Online
- Close the BBC’s Food website, but BBC Worldwide’s Good Food site will be unaffected
- Focus on distinctive long-form journalism online under a Current Affairs banner and close the online News Magazine
- Integrate Newsbeat output into BBC News Online and close the separate Newsbeat site and app
- Continue to offer travel news online but close the Travel site and halt development of the Travel app
- Stop running local news index web pages, offering instead an open stream to BBC and local news provider stories called ‘Local Live’
- Remove ring-fenced funding for iPlayer-only commissions
- Reduce digital radio and music social media activity and additional programme content that is not core to services
The changes will happen over the next 12 months.
Harding said: “The internet requires the BBC to redefine itself, but not its mission: the BBC’s purpose online is to provide a distinctive public service that informs, educates and entertains.
“The Review sets out what we want to be famous for online: trusted news; the place where children come to learn and play; high quality entertainment; live sports coverage and sports news; arts and culture, history and science; and historic moments, national events.
“And we are going to focus our energy on these six areas: BBC News; iPlay and BBC Bitesize; BBC iPlayer and BBC iPlayer Radio; BBC Sport; the Ideas Service; and BBC Live. We will stop doing some things where we’re duplicating our work, for example on food, and scale back services, such as travel, where there are bigger, better-resourced services in the market.”