The BBC Trust is freezing investment into BBC.co.uk after it found that the online portal overspent its budget by as much 48% in fiscal 2007. A review by the Trust found that BBC.co.uk spent GBP110m (USD217m) on web operations over the past year – excluding spending on the iPlayer and other streaming media. This is GBP36m (USD71m) more than its allocation budget of GBP74m (USD146m).
The review blames recent restructuring efforts that led to poor oversight. It says senior staff did not flag up the over expenditure, which would have continued if the review had not taken place. The Trust plans to freeze funding until a new management team is brought into place, with greater financial control.
The report singles out the separation of BBC’s New Media into four business units last year, saying this created misallocation of finances between sections and a confused management structure.
The Trust is giving BBC.co.uk six months to have a new management team in place, along with new processes and structures providing clear oversight. The site will also have to introduce a range of methods to cut costs such as better branding, updated technology and links to third-party sites.