What’s the difference between a refresh and a re-launch? We’ll leave that for the Guardian and the BBC to fight out…
The Guardian today reported that a ‘radical redesign’ and re-launch of BBC websites is planned for March 2010, with a focus on social media – according to the paper’s sources.
Among the changes outlined were a ‘a new homepage and underlying hosting platform,’ radical changes to news navigation, commenting facilities on programmes, the launch of the Open iPlayer and new connections to third party platforms.
The BBC, however, denied such a ‘radical overhaul’ to Journalism.co.uk, although it said ‘a refresh of the BBC News site’ will take place in due course – as previously reported.
In a statement it said:
“We’re always looking to improve the BBC experience for our users but contrary to reports, we are not planning a radical overhaul of the BBC’s websites.
“We are looking at how we can genuinely make BBC Online part of the web and meet our users growing expectations that they can contribute in different ways to our web site, and more broadly how we can share our technologies with other media companies.
“The website for Strictly Come Dancing as well as the Open iPlayer are examples – and as previously announced, we are planning a refresh of the BBC News site in the new year. Any investment in BBC Online is tightly assessed for market impact and public value before we commit to it.”
Further explanation will be given further down the line, a spokesperson told Journalism.co.uk.
In March 2009 director-general Mark Thompson announced that the BBC must cut £400 million from its budget within the next three years to avoid going over its statutory borrowing limit. Thompson said the corporation was targeting a five per cent cost reduction for television programme cost, year-on-year, for the next five years, a cumulative saving of 20 per cent.
This month he has talked of a ‘radical’ review of a different kind, one which will not necessarily dismiss the notion that the BBC has reached its limit of expansion (a suggestion originally made by culture secretary Ben Bradshaw).
Speaking at the BBC Open Day in August journalism controller of BBC Future Media & Technology, Nic Newman, said there will be no new editorial launches; rather users would see a ‘re-arrangement’ of content in the new year.