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 bbcshop.com, 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.