Oh, how embarrassing!
The BBC has reversed its plan to close its food website.
The idea to remove the recipes had been intended to reduce perceived competition with newspapers – but in an ironic twist, they are now being transferred to the BBC Good Food site, which is a commercial business.
Meanwhile John Whittingdale, whose White Paper calling for more “distinctive” content at the BBC (whatever that is), has protested that the decision to axe the recipes wasn’t his idea.
Some of us aren’t convinced but see what you think…
A huge public outcry, including a petition signed by more than 120,000 people, has provoked a climbdown at the BBC, which promised to keep many of its most popular recipes online less than 24 hours after announcing the closure of its food website.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the corporation said it would move as much as possible of the content currently on its BBC Food website over to the BBC Good Food site, which is owned by commercial arm BBC Worldwide.
“In response to the massive public reaction, we have decided to accelerate our plans to move our content,” said one source. “People won’t lose the recipes they love.”
Culture secretary John Whittingdale has said he is not to blame for the BBC deciding to axe “soft” content from its website, including thousands of recipes, pointing the finger instead at pressure from commercial rivals such as newspapers.
“It’s not my job to tell the BBC whether [or not] to broadcast The Voice, or Strictly Come Dancing or indeed to put recipes up on its website,” he said, speaking at radio industry body RadioCentre’s annual conference on Tuesday.
“If people want to access news the BBC is a trusted brand for news provision and it is right there should be a BBC news website,” he said.
“Once beyond that there have been complaints about soft news [and] magazine-type content, newspapers in particular have been quite sensitive to the competition offered by the BBC online.
“That is something the BBC has taken account of and to some extent [mothballing digital recipes] is a reflection of that. But it is for the BBC [not government to decide].
“How to go about that is for the BBC in the first instance and secondly for the new external regulator [Ofcom] if there are formal complaints.”
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