BBC promises to double click-through to rivals

BBC promises to double the click-through from its websites to those of rivals, says Erik Huggers

The proposed web cuts in the recent BBC strategy review, which will involve the closure of around 200 websites, are not just an exercise in cost-cutting according to BBC's Digital Chief, Eric Huggers.

Speaking to the Guardian, Huggers argues that the BBC's mistake was in allowing its web presence to 'sprawl' which, he says, was, "a natural consequence of not being constrained by spectrum."

Huggers added: "We need to be more focused, and do it much better... we need to improve the quality level, and reprioritise on what we do best."

Double click-through to rivals

Huggers has identified around 400 "top-level domain" websites that will be closed or merged by 2012.

"We're not saying we're cutting niche parts," said Huggers. "What we're saying is that we want to focus BBC Online on doing less a lot better. The point about commercial rivals is an important one. We don't define our mission by simply meeting market failure but we do understand we need to leave greater space for others."

The BBC Online's new strategy also aims to double the number of times users click through to rivals' websites to 20m a month.

"Fundamentally, this strategy is not about hoarding traffic or duplicating what else is out there. It is about focusing on our strengths, and making BBC Online what it should be, part of the fabric of a wider web rather than all things to all men.

"I'm not saying we should retreat from digital, it's fundamentally about focusing on why we exist and that should define what we do. And I think we can do this more responsibly, and with less money. I think these proposals will put the service in better shape, which is why I proposed them."