As we reported yesterday, the BBC website is to be the subject of a 25% budget cut that will reduce coverage on the service for a variety of features.
Under the terms of what has been revealed, we speculated that Doctor Who might be one of the areas of the website that cut. Luckily our friends over at Doctor Who Online were quick on the case and contacted the BBC to find out just what is going on, and were blessed with this statement:
“The BBC Doctor Who site will not close.
As background, weâ€™ve just posted a blog about the proposed reduction in top-level domains which explains how weâ€™ve identified which directories or sites weâ€™ll be removing from BBC Online over time. Â To ensure quality for our audiences itâ€™s necessary to reduce the number of individual websites we manage and concentrate resources in areas where they can be used to best effect.
To streamline efforts further, in future automatically-generated programme pages which will be hosted at bbc.co.uk/programmes â€“ these are dynamically populated and will help us to ensure our web publishing operation is as cost-effective as possible. Â But, rest assured, bespoke online offerings for popular programmes like /doctorwho will remain due to the continued value they deliver to large audiences.
We hope you continue to enjoy the content on offer!”
Now this is all very well, and hugely positive; but there is still a concern. The blog referred to above concerns a reduction in “top-level domains”. However there is only one TLD under discussion according to the blog post, and that is the www.bbc.co.uk. The blog post – supposedly by someone who knows what they are talking about – is in fact referring to directories, not domains.
Given that the people involved with making the changes cannot understand the difference between a top level domain (such as www.kasterborous.com) and a directory (such as /webguide) then expect this to be quite a drawn out process…
Just to clarify some of the above confusion, a former “man in charge” of the BBC’s Official Doctor Who site dropped me a line last night.
It seems that in-house terminology at the BBC is responsible for the confusion, so the phrase “top level domain” doesn’t in fact refer to a Top Level Domain (such as www.kasterborous.com) but (confusingly for all of us outside the BBC) to a directory such as www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho.
So – the Doctor Who site is safe, but there will be some considerable pruning in other parts of BBC Online.