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BBC to dismantle over 200 of its websites, trim workforce

The BBC is set to drastically scale back its online budget as part of cost-cutting measures scheduled to take place across the organization. The BBC Online is expected to cut 360 jobs and shutter some 200 of its websites in order to meet revised budget goals for 2013.

The cuts to BBC Online have been expected for some time, but we’re just now learning the extent of those cuts. Casualties will include the skills site Raw, the teen-oriented sites Switch and Blast, the community site 606 and documentary site Video Nation.

“BBC Online is a huge success, but our vast portfolio of websites means we sometimes fall short of expectation,” BBC director general Mark Thompson said. “A refocusing on our editorial priorities, a commitment to the highest quality standards, and a more streamlined and collegiate way of working will help us transform BBC Online for the future.”

In addition to the job cuts and website closures, the BBC also announced its popular iPlayer will no longer support radio content and instead “will be re-shaped into a unified television offer, bringing together TV channels.”

The changes will occur gradually over the next two years, with 180 websites expected to close during 2011 and the rest by 2013. The BBC’s cutbacks are not limited to its online presence. This week, the organization is expected to announce it will also trim its World Service division, cutting around 650 jobs — 25% of its workforce.