BBC set to slash online nature and arts coverage and axe host of apps

BBC set to slash online nature and arts coverage and axe a host of apps

BBC will slash online nature and arts coverage and axe a host of apps as Director-General calls for more focus on popular parts of corporation’s websites

  • Only eight of BBC’s numerous online sections draw 90 per cent of its audience 
  • BBC Arts and BBC Earth face the chop, with content published expected to fall
  • Hoped cuts will help corporation appeal to younger audiences – their current reach is just 55 per cent

The BBC is going to cull some of its online platforms as they have failed to draw large enough audiences, it emerged last night.

The corporation will streamline its plethora of digital sites to make it more commercially competitive amid fears its sprawling online presence is making content too hard to find.

Currently only eight of the BBC’s numerous online sections draw 90 per cent of its audience, the Telegraph reported.

Last night the BBC’s director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, told staff that the BBC’s iPlayer, news, music, spoken word, weather, sport children’s content, BBC Bitesize and the bbc.co.uk homepage would remain a priority amid the shakeup.

The BBC is going to cull some of its online platforms as they have failed to draw large enough audiences


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The sections whose future is thought to be at risk include BBC Arts and BBC Earth with the amount of content published on the platforms expected to fall ‘over time’.

Lord Hall said: ‘In the global marketplace against well-resourced competitors we have to concentrate on a smaller number of standout services that deliver our very best content online.’

The changes will also see the majority of the BBC’s apps being ditched and fewer stories on the BBC’s website. It comes as concerns have also been raised that some material included in some online sections has little public service value.

The BBC hope the cuts will help the corporation appeal to younger audiences as currently their weekly reach among young people only stands at 55 per cent. Within the next four years they aim to increase that to 90 per cent.

The sections whose future is thought to be at risk include BBC Arts and BBC Earth with the amount of content published on the platforms expected to fall ‘over time’

A BBC source told the Telegraph: ‘The strategy will mean reducing over time the production of online content that is less used by the public. 

‘We are already evolving BBC iPlayer to reflect changing patterns of consumption. iPlayer set the standard that others have followed. We need to leap ahead once more.’

Lord Hall also promised the plans will also work to stamp out fake news that is ‘having a corrosive impact on public debate’.

In 2016, the BBC announced the closure of services including BBC Food in a bid to cut costs, but the decision was overturned by a petition signed by more than 150,000 people.

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