It’s not that easy being green. BBC Worldwide has put its BBC Green environment site on ice after just 11 months, leading to the redeployment of one from its five-strong team and another four choosing to take redundancy.
The site was launched by the BBC’s profit-making wing in March 2008 to provide advice to readers interested in preventing climate change; it currently has sponsorships from eBay (NSDQ: EBAY), John Lewis and DIY Kyoto. But a spokesperson confirmed to paidContent:UK the site will no longer be actively published: “It’s a commercial decision – in difficult times, we have to make certain decisions, especially with ad-funded services. We’re still very committed to digital media.”
The spokesperson denied the decision had anything to do with the BBC Trust’s ongoing review of BBC Worldwide, as The Observer reported.
BBC Green will be left live for now, we were told. The spokesperson said BBC Worldwide is “open to discussions” on finding a buyer for the BBC Green site – its main assets are editorial guides on climate action and a carbon calculator. (Update: the site went offline this morning).
BBC Worldwide says it’s not abandoning its strategy to create “passion sites” based on specific interests. But that strategy was devised before it acquired Lonely Planet for a hefty £89.9 million in September 2007. Since then, the company has moved many resources toward developing the travel brand and, in a worsening economic climate, it’s thought BBC Worldwide now has to keep its online spending in check.
BBC’s other passion sites include TopGear.com, BBCGoodFood, Gardeners’ World and LonelyPlanet.com. Top Gear has become a hugely successful brand for the company, launching TV and online versions in the US and Australia after finding a big appetite for its UK online video clips distributed through YouTube. BBC Worldwide digital income swelled 57 percent to £21.9 million on strong performance through YouTube and iTunes in 2007/08, though the overall loss more than doubled to £10.9 million after investing in building BBC.com and Kangaroo.