BBC hobbles websites with 25% budget cut

The BBC is to cut its web presence to save money and create room for the private sector websites.

Director General Mark Thompson announced yesterday that the BBC will:

  • Cut the number of sites it runs;
  • Cover less news;
  • Commit to link to outside sites on its stories;
  • Focus on international, national and regional news, not local news;
  • Axe 360 posts; and
  • Cut the budget by 25%.

This will turn one of the most popular websites in the world into a shadow of itself.

45th most popular in the world

BBC.co.uk is the UK’s fifth most popular site by traffic and the 45th most popular in the world, according to the stats on alexa.com.  In comparison dailymail.co.uk is the world’s 181st most popular and 17th in the UK. 

The power of the BBC site is also shown in the fact that 94,751 other sites link to it.  The Daily Mail site has 36,532 sites linking to it, according to Alexa.com.

Chasing those seconds

What the private websites are after are the 6.6 minutes that the average visitor to the BBC site spent on the site yesterday.  The three-month figure is 6.8 minutes.  They want to turn that into cash from advertisers.  The Daily Mail kept its visitor on the site for 6.2 minutes yesterday.  It has been steadily gaining with a three-month average of 5.8 minutes.

Those few extra seconds are what the private sites are after.  Because that can be turned into cash and the BBC cannot do that as it does not carry advertising.

Magazines to go?

It is sad to see a public broadcaster hobbling itself when it has such a success on its hands.  Can the magazines published by BBC Worldwide be far behind?  Many of them will soon be in the private sector, I predict.

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