BBC Closes Five Websites, May Close More

The BBC is to close five websites in the wake of the Graf Report, and is looking at all BBC Online services. The five sites to close initially are Fantasy Football, What’s On, Surfing, Games and Pure Soap. “The process is not over” stated Ashley Highfield after announcing their closure. “The review is going to look at all of our websites. Nothing is going to escape scrutiny of its public value.”

No jobs will be lost immediately as staff will be transferred to other business areas.

Highfield has added another aim to BBC Online’s remit to educate, inform and entertain – connect. BBC sites will connect with audiences whenever and wherever they want. He also added a pledge that BBC Online would never produce e-commerce, e-mail, gambling or dating sites.

This is not quite the bold pledge it sounds – there is already a, operated by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the organisation. If the BBC ever wanted to operate any of the services that Highfield has ruled out, BBCWW would be able to do so without breaking any pledges.

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?