BBC 'to streamline online services to make content easier to find'

BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London
BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London

The BBC is reportedly set to cut back its online services in an attempt to make its content easier to find as it looks to fight competition from US streaming services.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the BBC Earth and BBC Arts sections of the website will be removed and there will be fewer features as well as less of a focus on celebrity gossip.

Instead, the paper says, the corporation will focus on eight key areas: iPlayer, news, music and spoken word, weather, sport, children's content, BBC Bitesize and the bbc.co.uk home page.

These areas are said to be responsible for more than 90% of the BBC's online audience. The reported cull of services comes as the corporation attempts to overcome the challenge posed by the likes of YouTube and Netflix.

BBC director-general Tony Hall reportedly said to staff in an announcement on Monday: "In the global market, against well-resourced competitors, we have to concentrate on a smaller number of services that deliver our best content online."

The BBC is also trying to improve its offering to young people. In March, the corporation announced it was launching a new children's app.

The broadcaster said it will launch an app for six-to-12-year-olds "that will provide a daily diet of inspiring, funny and fascinating facts, as well as enable young users to upload and share their creative endeavours, building social communities around particular passions".

In June, Lord Hall warned Britain could be "sleepwalking towards a world in which children and young people barely encounter public service broadcasting content".

He joined Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon to call for an update to legislation to ensure public service content has prominence on smart televisions, tablets and smartphones.