The BBC has confirmed that BBC Food, Newsbeat, Travel and the News Magazine will all close as it makes £15 million of cuts to its online output to address criticism that the corporation is unfairly competing with commercial online publishers.
The announcement follows the publication of a government White Paper on the future of the BBC which sets out a future plan for the corporation, including maintaining the licence fee for five years in a row inline with inflation.
However the BBC admitted that the recipes would only be archived and not deleted therefore available for people to access. Around 11,000 recipes will be hidden under the review of online services, and there has been backlash from the British public. Recipes from TV shows will still be posted online but will only be made available for 30 days.
Other BBC services are also facing the chop. The broadcaster will close the youth-focused Newsbeat website and app, funnelling its output through the broader BBC News platform instead. Similarly, the BBC’s dedicated Travel site and app will be absorbed by BBC News. The science and curiosity-based iWonder site will also be discontinued as will the online BBC News Magazine (although there are plans for longform journalism to remain in some way), and local news index web pages.
In a further bid to cut costs, the organisation will be reducing “digital radio and music social media activity.”
James Harding, director of BBC News and current affairs, said: “The internet requires the BBC to redefine itself, but not its mission: the BBC’s purpose online is to provide a distinctive public service that informs, educates and entertains.”
Therefore BBC Online will now focus solely on a few key areas – providing news, sports and entertainment, along with arts, culture, history and science through the Ideas Service, being a hub for children to play and learn through BBC iPlay and BBC Bitesize, and covering national and historic moments via BBC Live.
“We will stop doing some things where we’re duplicating our work, for example on food, and scale back services, such as travel, where there are bigger, better-resourced services in the market” he added.
An online petition to save the recipe archive has attracted more than 100,000 supporters with numbers increasing as campaigners label it a ‘precious resource’ for people.
Staff are due to be briefed on this future of online services this Tuesday.