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BBC to cut 'less used' online content to focus on 'standout' services including news, sport and iPlayer

The BBC will cut production of its online content that is “less used by the public” to concentrate on “standout” services such as BBC News and BBC Sport.

The corporation also plans to do more to tackle fake news and misinformation online in response to its “corrosive impact on public debate”.

BBC director-general Tony Hall set out the next steps for evolving its online strategy in a speech to staff yesterday, in which he spoke about how to ensure the corporation best fulfils its public service mission in a “fast-changing world”.

He said: “In the global marketplace – against well-resourced competitors – we have to concentrate on a smaller number of standout services that deliver our very best content online.”

Press Gazette understands the BBC will focus its online offering on BBC News, BBC Sport, iPlayer, new music app BBC Sounds, BBC Weather, BBC Bitesize and children’s content.

The BBC homepage will be refocused with iPlayer at its heart.

A BBC source said: “We are already evolving BBC iPlayer to reflect changing patterns of consumption and to ensure we give the public what they want. iPlayer set the gold standard which others have followed. We need to leap ahead once more.”

The BBC also plans to improve its offering for younger people, with an aim of increasing its weekly online reach for this demographic from the current 55 per cent to 90 per cent within four years.

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

Also in June, BBC director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth defended articles about Love Island as being in the public interest as she said they could help the corporation reach more users under the age of 35.

“There’s certainly a public interest argument for doing Love Island,” Unsworth said.

“There is the balance between relevance for us – if we are going to go after this under-35 audience, if they’re all watching it we need to find a way of talking about it.

Lord Hall is set to make a speech next week setting out some of the main technological and financial challenges facing the BBC and how it will address them.

Picture: Channel 4 News

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