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BBC confirms reduced online services with revised service license

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC
Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC
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Following on from budget cuts announced by the BBC at the start of this year regarding the national broadcaster’s online services, the BBC Trust has today published their revised service license for BBC Online. In January the BBC Trust announced a 25% budget reduction for BBC Online which would directly result in the loss of 360 jobs and the closure of over 400 BBC websites.

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC
Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC

The Trust have set their revised budget for 2011/2012 at £120 million with a contingency rate of no more than 10%,

“Any planned or actual change in annual expenditure on the service of more than 10% in real value requires approval from the BBC Trust and may entail variation of this Service Licence.

“This parameter of change is set to allow variations in spending which arise from regular, cyclical factors such as spending on major sports events, a reasonable level of operational flexibility and changes in accounting policy.”

Budgets for specific online areas are as follows – BBC Online audio and music will receive £14 million, knowledge and learning £22 million, BBC iPlayer £15 million, online children’s content £9 million, and BBC Online news, sport and weather £43 million. The remaining £17 million of the allocated budget for 2011/2012 will be spent on central editorial activities like the BBC homepage, technologies which operate across their online service and overheads.

The service license also affirms the BBC’s efforts to facilitate other news outlets, particularly those operating at a regional level,

“Nations and local sites should aim to work effectively with other providers of local information, sourcing or sharing content and providing clear links from each BBC site to other local media and information providers.”

Specifically, BBC Online aims to double the amount of click-throughs to external sites by 2013/2014, and commission at least 25% “of eligible content and services from external suppliers”.

Image courtesy of eirikso on Flickr.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.