The BBC has announced significant changes to the way it manages technology and provides online content, following the departure of the head of its Future Media and Technology division.
Erik Huggers, who is credited with the success of the BBC’s iPlayer online content platform, is leaving for Intel where he will run the chipmaker’s digital home technology division.
Following his departure, the BBC will split the Future Media and Technology division into two. One unit, focused on technology, will be lead by CTO John Linwood, while digital media director Ralph Rivera will lead the other, focused on digital content including the iPlayer.
This morning, the BBC announced that it is to cut its online budget 25% (£34 million). This means that 180 BBC websites will be axed and 360 jobs will be lost. It also means that a number of social media features will be cut in favour of integration with external social networks.
In an interview with Information Age in July 2010, the head of the BBC’s architecture council Rhys Lewis spoke of the challenges the corporation faced in uniting traditional broadcast technologies with new media platforms.
“In the broadcast world, we are used to developing systems for the long term,” he said at the time. “In web development, you build the latest gee-whizz things into your website, but that means that the underlying infrastructure is building up in complexity, and because of that it can become less reliable. The challenge is to build more reliable web infrastructure, and part of that is reducing complexity.”
This morning, the head of the BBC’s archive Roly Keating said the online cuts would make the corporation’s digital content simpler and easier to navigate.