The BBC will shut down half its website, close two of its radio stations and scale back on spending on imported US programmes, according to a report in The Times.

It reports that Mark Thompson, BBC director general, will announce next month that the Corporation must make the moves to help its commercial rivals operate.

As part of the strategic review, the BBC will close half its website, together with a 25% reduction in staff numbers. Its online operation’s £112m budget will be cut by 25%. The BBC is also pledging to include more links to newspaper articles to drive traffic to rival publishers’ websites.

Thompson will also annouce the closure of the digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian network, BBC Switch and Blast!.

The report is being considered by the BBC Trust and is set to be announced next month.

In November, Thompson said the BBC would be cutting back areas of its output after the analogue switch-off in 2012 (nma.co.uk 27 November 2009).

“Expect to see reductions in some kinds of programmes and content – look, for example, at the current scope of our website – and a close examination of the future of our service portfolios once switchover has been achieved,” he said.

Thompson’s speech followed the BBC Trust revealing details about its strategic review to “streamline” the BBC’s online services (nma.co.uk 24 November 2009).

The BBC was unavailable for comment.

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Published 26 February, 2010 by NMA Staff

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