The BBC's decision to pare down its investment in Internet and digital delivery of news and programming because of budget worries has raised some eyebrows--and questions--about what the future of the world's largest broadcasting company.
Primary to concerns is the Beeb's commitment to delivering online video, both via streaming and on demand.
The BBC is a Top-10 Internet website in the U.K., in fact, it's the only homegrown site on the list. And, as any news junkie knows, it's a great place to browse online for a different, often more global perspective on world news, and it often comes with compelling video that's ahead of the crowd.
But the BBC Trust--the group that decides where the state-supported media company spends its money--is mandating that it cut $150 million a year in overhead from the budget and earmarked some $900 million to focus on news, children's programming, culture and arts, and U.K. drama and comedy.
The changes will cut the budget to BBC online by at least 25 percent, and eliminate quarter of its staff. It also will mean shutting down online platforms BBC Switch and BBC Blast that are more teen focused.
This year's budget strategy is a far cry from a year ago, when the Trust cut back on TV and film spending and bumped the BBC's online budget by $44.3 million, less than management wanted, but still an increase. The Trust wanted more news online, more programming for children and an improvement in site navigation.
That increase was, no doubt, fueled by the Beeb's increasing success on the Internet in the U.K., where it was second in traffic only to YouTube. The BBC last year began feeding video content to several U.K. newspapers, primarily news of British politics, business, health and science and has continued to expand its online news and entertainment presence.
- see this MailOnline article