11,000 online recipes to go as part of BBC's plan to cut costs

The BBC Food website carrying more than 11,000 recipes is to close as part of a plan to cut £15 million (S$30 million) from the corporation's online budget, BBC said.
The BBC Food website carrying more than 11,000 recipes is to close as part of a plan to cut £15 million (S$30 million) from the corporation's online budget, BBC said.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM BBC FOOD WEBSITE

LONDON - Foodies in Britain are protesting a planned move by the BBC to remove 11,000 online recipes, in a review of its operations.

The BBC Food website carrying more than 11,000 recipes is to close as part of a plan to cut £15 million (S$30 million) from the corporation's online budget, BBC said.

The move is part of a cut back on magazine-style content and local news. TV show recipes will be put online but only be made available for 30 days.

Travel articles could be affected too, but the plans will not affect commercial services such as BBC Good Food.

The BBC said online services have to be "high-quality, distinctive, and offer genuine public value".

The company said: "While our audiences expect us to be online, we have never sought to be all things to all people and the changes being announced will ensure that we are not."

Last year, Chancellor George Osborne singled out the recipe website as he criticised the BBC for being "imperial in its ambitions".

"If you've got a website that's got features and cooking recipes - effectively the BBC website becomes the national newspaper as well as the national broadcaster," he said.

Part of the concerns are the BBC's impact on the commercial market. The BBC's new mission statement will add the word "distinctive", and will read: "To act in the public interest, serving all audiences with impartial, high-quality, and distinctive media content and services that inform, educate and entertain."

Other changes are afoot for the British public broadcaster.

The broadcaster will be regulated by an external organisation, the independent media watchdog Ofcom, for the first time in its 90-year history under the proposals in a government white paper, AFP said.

It would also have a new board to run day-to-day matters that could include government appointees.

The BBC Trust, which currently regulates the broadcaster, would be abolished and the BBC would have to disclose salaries of employees that exceed the director general's pay of £450,000 a year.

In a commentary, the Guardian newspaper said this was an attempt to "salami slice" the BBC.

It said that the removal of the recipes will snatch away "enjoyable parts" of Britons' weekly routines, and said the changes will "undermine" the popular broadcaster.