BBC changes: greater focus on fewer stories

Media Guardian reckons the BBC is ‘planning changes to the way it presents its news output’. On the face of it, the TV changes recognise the collapse in the status of the flagship bulletins as they currently stand. The One will be more News24-y: more live two-ways, fewer recorded packages. The Six will ‘concentrate on fewer stories but cover them in more depth’.

Yes, these are clearly going to trim costs, but I think they make sense in the world of rolling news. Lunchtime isn’t a natural pause in the news cycle, quite the opposite in fact. So we’re kidding ourselves if we think we can take a reflective step back. By 6pm, the breaking stories have generally played themselves out, and it’s the right time to linger a bit longer.

Online, they say ‘resources are expected to be focused on the most popular stories, while it is thought there will be 20% less audio-visual content’. On the former: good, the BBC site has always tended to do too much written stuff, per story and per day. (I don’t know about you, but I very rarely read to the end of a story.) On the latter: a cut in A/V volume is probably justifiable, but it’s impossible to decide whilst they persist in their pre-YouTube approach to video. Hiding the video behind text links, popup windows and helper apps doesn’t encourage me to watch. A one-click-to-play Flash movie (with a preview) just might.