BBC Online head says budget, staff cuts won't hurt

When the BBC announced drastic cutbacks to its online presence, reaction was immediate and vitriolic. But, BBC Online head Erik Huggers today told The Guardian that the cutbacks would actually make the Beeb's online presence better. Is he simply being a good soldier and falling on his sword for the Grand Dame of broadcasting? Or will the winnowing of programs and refocusing create a world-class presence?

Huggers compared the launch of the BBC Online with the BBC's initial foray into television, saying early programs were just "radio programs with pictures," adding that online growth was similar and that its sprawl was the result "of not being constrained by spectrum."

He said the BBC is committed to doing "better with less," a common cry in the news media-be it print, broadcast or digital, and one critics say just isn't possible.

Last week, the BBC, the only homegrown Top-10 Internet website in the U.K., began dealing with edicts to cut $150 million a year in overhead from its budget and retask some $900 million to focus on news, children's programming, culture and arts, and U.K. drama and comedy.

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