Television

BBC unveils future plans for its New Media unit

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MUMBAI: BBC New Media in the UK has announced how it proposes to reallocate investment from its current online budget to help fund new broadband and innovative projects that support the BBC's public values.

To achieve the 10 per cent growth target set by the board of governors, the BBC will to employ a range of solutions, including the closure of some sites, the reduction of investment and increased focus in others, as well as make savings through operational efficiencies.

The BBC has set itself the target of saving ?6 milion on its new media unit. This will be made by the end of the financial year 2005/06 and will be reinvested in new media projects more closely aligned to the purposes of the BBC as set out in Building Public Value. BBC director of new media and technology Ashley Highfield said, "This is all about focussing our investment so that we can best use our funding to reach and delight the largest audiences with the most distinctive and original content.

"It is about preparing ourselves for the broadband world. In order to free up the required funding we need to behave like Television and Radio. In other words, decommission, reduce funding or archive web content that no longer needs this level of investment or which may have become amply supplied by the market.

It is an ongoing process for bbc.co.uk. These changes build on the first steps we took in July to close those websites which we felt did not offer sufficient distinctive public value for the investment required.

"The savings we made in July represented 2.5 per cent of our web output. To meet the 10 per cent target set out by the BBC Governors, we are announcing a further 7.5 per cent reduction to be achieved through lowering investment in areas where we feel this will not cause a reduction in public value, and by sharing resources with the commercial world."

The US Sports section of bbc.co.uk/sport and the local history site, bbc.co.uk/legacies, will close down because of similarities with the existing market and insufficient value for money, respectively. Funding for bbc.co.uk/cult will be reduced, with the exception of the Doctor Who section, to support the forthcoming series on BBC Oe. bbc.co.uk/lifestyle will continue to operate, but with a more modest investment.

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