BBC Director General Mark Thompson Explains Web Cuts

Whether reluctant or not, most print-media companies are embracing the Web. So why did British Broadcasting Corp. director general Mark Thompson say at the FT Digital Media & Broadcasting Conference 2010, “By far the biggest single adjustment is the tightening of focus of the Website?”

According to paidContent:UK, the BBC will slash 25 percent from its annual online budget and online staff by 2010, but it was not a reflection of the company giving up on the Internet.

Thompson said at the conference, as reported by paidContent:UK, that the BBC would be “shutting down extraneous and lower-performing parts,” adding:

BBC Online is the future of the whole BBC. One day, the Web may be the principal, conceivably the only platform for the BBC services. Some of our critics have a point when they say the limits of what the BBC will and won’t do on the Web have been unclear.”

He also gave one example of a site to be shuttered: The BBC’s Web community for Scotland’s Western Isles, which had not been updated since May 2009, adding:

Actually, those communities are launching their own sites — someone else is doing it — we can step back. In entertainment — we’ve seen a lot of people stepping up in that space — we can draw back.

As for BBC News, Thompson said:

Whatever you may have read in the newspapers before today — let me be specific — although it may be what the market purists may like, the BBC will not retreat.