BBC Will Consult Commercial Web Rivals, Online Cuts Soon

James Murdoch's BBC prop

The BBC Trust has ratified the Putting Quality First strategy submitted by the BBC executive in March, with two particular new details…

(1): “Increase the amount of formal industry engagement around BBC Online – where the greatest sensitivities exist – by organising at least two official briefing events each year to discuss online strategy and consult directly on the annual business plan.”

(2): “We expect to make an announcement soon about the nature of the changes involved.”

Commercial operators have complained for years that they find it hard to make money in a market they say is dominated by BBC websites. Meeting the BBC could provide them with some clues as to the BBC’s development roadmap, but the briefings will likely be derided by commercial publishers as merely symbolic.

Putting Quality First aimed to focus on five BBC editorial priorities, cut online costs by 25 percent, double outbound links and halve the number of top-level site directories by 2013

Mark Thompson said this was the biggest of the BBC’s cutbacks.

In August, future media director Erik Huggers spent 2,000 words explaining the rationale behind the effort, but info on exactly how the cuts will translate in to lost jobs or websites is yet to emerge. The imminent “announcement” expected from the Trust is likely to detail this.

The Trust’s ratification is a nod-through of the document. See our original coverage of it here.

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