BBC confirms proposals derived from strategic review

The BBC has unveiled its proposals to help it “do fewer things better” and the BBC Trust is now inviting responses.

BBC Radio website
BBC Radio website

Following a strategic review, BBC director general Mark Thompson has now set out where he sees the need for pruning and where there should be investment.

Some of the proposals have been trailed since last week and its is now confirmed that the BBC wants to close digital station Radio6Music and focus popular music output on Radio 1.

It also proposes creating an “increasingly distinctive Radio 2” and says it will use the resources released from these initiatives “to drive digital radio.

The corporation also wants to close Asian Network as a national service and use the funding released to serve Asian audiences in better ways.

The BBC wants to increase the quality of local radio: boosting investment in local news at breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime, and sharing content across services at other times

The BBC websites, which have attracted criticism from commercial rivals trying to build their own digital properties, should focus on five content priorities, according to the review.

These include halving the number of sections on the site by closing lower performing sites, consolidating the rest and spending 25% less on the site per year by 2013. The BBC also wants to turn the site into “a window on the web” by providing at least one external link on every page to double monthly ’click-throughs’ to external sites.

The corporation also wants to re-establish BBC2 as a quality channel and is planning £25m investment by 2013 with more “intelligent and ambitious drama”.

The BBC Trust says in its introduction to the review that extensive research with the public and commercial enterprises raised questions “about how the BBC can sharpen its focus on its public service mission, and how it can show more sensitivity to the concerns that other companies have about the impact of its scale and resources.”

The deadline for responses to the proposals is 25 May. The Trust will use the responses and its own analysis to form a final view on what the future strategic framework for the BBC should to be. It aims to provide a provisional view of its conclusions this summer and a final strategy in the autumn.

The BBC will then be expected to put formal proposals to the Trust for those specific changes that follow from this strategy and that require approval. Those specific changes will be subject to full regulatory scrutiny.

Separately, the BBC is reviewing its marketing agency roster, although no details are expected until the autumn.

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