360 To Go At BBC

During the next two years 360 staff at BBC will lose their jobs as the UK’s public broadcaster tries to cut its online service budget to £103 million.

Faced with seeing the online budget by a quarter, Beeb director-general Mark Thompson said it will be a case of trying to do “fewer things better.”

The corporation has also said it’ll honour its pledge never to create rivals to Facebook, Wikipedia or Spotify, after facing criticism that commercial rivals are finding it tough competing with its free internet services.

Rather than compete by creating its own social network, the BBC will work with sites such as Facebook and Twitter to make its websites “more personal” and “more social”. There will also be a cull of its several message boards and hundreds of staff blogs.
“Even with its wings clipped, the BBC is going to be the biggest online news and long-form [online] video provider in the UK”, Ian Maude of Enders Analysis told the Financial Times.

“A lot of the cuts are symbolic – all the key sites will continue. Getting rid of a half of their domains does not equate to [losing] half their traffic. It will have a much smaller impact than the figures suggest.”

Greater prominence will be given to the BBC’s knowledge and learning content. Radio and music will be given their own separate site.

The BBC has also promised to reduce coverage of show business and celebrity news on its entertainment site, while doing more on culture and arts.

The cuts drew stern criticism from union leaders including National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear said they show “the BBC’s contempt for hard-working staff.”

He said the NUJ will not stand idly by if members are forced out of their jobs.”

In total, 173 of the 400 individual websites that make up bbc.co.uk will be closed by the end of this year. Another 30 will be cut in 2012.

Online news has escaped the cuts better than other areas. It’s total budget is being cut by around 13 percent.