Recipes, iPlayer and News: here are the changes coming to BBC Online

BBC Good Food

The BBC is going through some big changes. We recently reported on the government's proposals for the broadcaster, which includes locking non-licence holders out of iPlayer and allowing the BBC to move forward with plans for a new streaming service.

Now, the BBC has announced it will close some of its key sites as part of its £15m cuts. The Beeb will chop away at several online components and instead focus on six key areas for the future.

In a statement, James Harding, Director of BBC News & Current Affairs, said: "The internet requires the BBC to redefine itself, but not its mission: the BBC's purpose online is to provide a distinctive public service that informs, educates and entertains."

The BBC also said that it accounts for just a 4.5% share of the average UK adult's time online compared to Facebook's 20%.

What's out?

BBC Food

BBC's Food website is getting the chop, taking 11,000 recipes with it. The move has already caused a lot of backlash, with more than 25,000 people having already signed a petition calling on the BBC to reverse its decision. However, the BBC Good Food website will remain.

The BBC Press Office on its official Twitter account said that the recipes will be "archived or mothballed" to eventually vanish with no live links. Better start print-screening while you can.


The BBC's iWonder service, a factual and education site for the curious, will be closed. However, its formats will be "redeployed" across BBC Online.

News, news, news

The BBC's News Magazine is getting pulled but there will be a focus on "distinctive" long-form journalism that will sit under a Current Affairs banner.

The standalone Newsbeat site and app will also be shut, with future Newsbeat content to be integrated into BBC News Online. Local news index web pages will also cease to be run, to be replaced with a rolling stream of news on the BBC's 'Local Live'.

Sound off

Programme content that isn't considered core to the BBC's digital radio and music services will be stripped down, along with social media activity around these two areas. We can see this leading to a bit of backlash too, given how much love there is for the BBC's radio services.

Lest we forget it was just six years ago that the BBC threatened to cut 6 Music and replace it with a spun-off version of Radio 2, before a huge protest from listeners, presenters, and even David Bowie led to it make a U-turn.


iPlayer exclusivity

Previous ring-fenced funding for iPlayer-only content is to be removed, meaning we'll likely see fewer programmes sat solely on the iPlayer service. BBC Three recently went online-only, which raises questions over whether this latest announcement will have any impact on the future of Three.

It's also looking very likely that from the start of next year you will need a TV licence to use iPlayer. The Government outlined the plan in its recent white paper on the BBC, suggesting a verification method to ensure users are licence holders. The benefit of this is that you may soon be able to watch iPlayer from anywhere in Europe.

Cancel your travel plans

The BBC Travel site will be closed and future development to the Travel app halted. Travel news will only be provided through BBC News.


Finally, funding for the BBC's Connected Studio, part of the BBC's Research and Development department, will also be reduced. The Studio will be maintained as "an enabler of innovation", according to the BBC.

What's in?

So that's everything that's going or being reduced, all to take effect within the next 12 months. The BBC says it will focus on six key areas:

  • BBC News
  • BBC Sport
  • iPlayer and BBC iPlayer Radio
  • BBC Live
  • iPlayer and BBC Bitesize
  • The Ideas Service

James Harding added: "The Review sets out what we want to be famous for online: trusted news; the place where children come to learn and play; high quality entertainment; live sports coverage and sports news; arts and culture, history and science; and historic moments, national events.

"And we are going to focus our energy on these six areas: BBC News; iPlay and BBC Bitesize; BBC iPlayer and BBC iPlayer Radio; BBC Sport; the Ideas Service; and BBC Live.

"We will stop doing some things where we're duplicating our work, for example on food, and scale back services, such as travel, where there are bigger, better-resourced services in the market."

  • You can read our breakdown of the government's proposed BBC changes here
Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.