BBC’s Thompson outlines plans to cut back digital services

Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, has outlined the corporation’s plans to scale back its digital and radio operations.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Speaking at the Voice of the Listener & Viewer Conference in London, Thompson said the BBC would be cutting back areas of its output after the analogue switch-off in 2012.

“Expect to see reductions in some kinds of programmes and content – look, for example, at the current scope of our website – and a close examination of the future of our service portfolios once switchover has been achieved,” he said.

Thompson admitted the corporation had already started cutting back some of its content. “For example, we’ve slightly reduced the services on the red button because so many people are able to get interactive services on the web,” he said.

Thompson also said the BBC would review “the many millions of pages” on the BBC’s sites and “whether everything needs to be there, is updated and is relevant”.

Thompson’s speech followed the BBC Trust revealing details about its strategic review to “streamline” the BBC’s online services (nma 24 November 2009).

Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, which regulates the broadcaster, has asked Thompson to find out, “beyond the core offer of news, sport, education, children’s and the iPlayer, which parts of the online service are essential to the BBC’s mission and which could be stopped”.

According to the BBC, in October 2009 BBC Online had an average of 27.2m weekly unique users. This was down 2% from the previous month, but up 24% year on year.

This story first appeared on

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