The BBC has revealed plans to drastically scale back the ambition of its website, after coming under pressure from ministers to do so, by wielding the axe to so-called soft news sections such as magazine features, recipes and travel advice.
A leaner website is designed to counter criticisms that the broadcaster has become too unwieldy and should instead focus on its bread and butter output, with commercial rivals in particular complaining of unfair competition.
As such the website will in future focus on video content and core news services.
This online row back amounts to a significant reversal in policy for the public service broadcaster with director general Lord Hall of Birkenhead acknowledging that the website ‘cannot be all things to all people’.
News of the shift in policy dovetails with the imminent announcement of the government’s new Royal Charter stipulating the size and scope of the BBC over the next 11 years; together with a report from the National Audit Office over how it has handled controversial issues such as construction of a new EastEnders set.
Last minute representations are currently taking place to shape the final charter, with the BBC seeking to amend the current draft which would allow the government to appoint a majority of non-executive directors for the BBC Trust’s successor.