BBC to axe some digital services

The BBC is to close a number of its online services that do not meet a new “public value test” being introduced as part of the broadcaster’s plans for charter renewal.

The test, which includes quantitative and qualitative measures, will be applied to all the broadcaster’s operations and any proposed services.

This will go some way to satisfying critics who claim the BBC has become too commercial by offering services that can be provided by the private sector.

The test is part of a nine-point manifesto unveiled by BBC chairman Michael Grade this week, which forms part of the case for the BBC’s charter renewal and is set out in a publication called “Building Public Value: renewing the BBC for a digital world”.

Other points include the preparation of the BBC and Britain for digital switch off, which the corporation claims can be achieved by 2012, casting doubt on the Government’s target of 2010.

The document outlines plans to move services to Manchester and set up 60 local news hubs. It also proposes the introduction of a new “governance unit” to help the governors regulate the BBC.

Grade dismissed the need for the BBC to introduce funding from advertising and subscription, saying this would narrow programme output and “impoverish the whole sector”.

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