You’ll have read this in dozens of places already (like, for instance, The Hollywood Reporter and The Bristol Evening Post) but I thought I ought to mark the really quite important news that the BBC is making deep cuts at BBCi, its online and interactive division, and that these cuts will come principally from the department’s web activities – two thirds of the interactive factual and learning division in Bristol, for instance.
The Corporation is doing this well ahead of the upcoming Government review of BBCi’s activities – I understand that the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (the ministry responsible) hasn’t even finished setting terms of reference for the review, let alone appointed someone to do it.
This is, I’m sure, a tactically cunning preemptive strike. It’s almost inevitable that the review, when finally convened, would have recommended some cuts, even if only because BBCi has been allowed to grow more-or-less ad lib across multiple departments.
Hard-pressed UK media owners may also be relieved to see a bite taken out of their state-funded, inflation-protected number 1 competitor but it would be a mistake to read this as a response to their complaints. The online publishers’ puny lobby hasn’t made a dent so far.