BBC Trust proposes Online and Red Button merger

BBC One Connected Red ButtonThe BBC Trust is to launch a consultation that could lead to the merger of BBC Online and BBC Red Button into a single service.

It follows the second review conducted by the Trust of Online and Red Button services. Online was last reviewed in 2008 and Red Button in 2010.

While the review found that services were both popular and distinctive there was criticism of BBC Online’s navigation and search functions, and its local pages.

BBC Online is one of the Corporation’s most widely-used services, reaching 22 million people each week. BBC Red Button is also popular, providing of news, sport and weather, with audiences appreciating its extended coverage of events such as Wimbledon and Glastonbury.

However, in recent months the number of linear streams have drastically been reduced and the BBC has been developing a new connected Red Button, which launched in December on Virgin Media.

BBC Trustee Suzanna Taverne, who led the review, said: “In the five years since we first reviewed BBC Online, the digital world has advanced rapidly and people’s expectations of online services have changed. For example, in 2008 the iPlayer was just launching, whereas now audiences consider it a ‘world class’ part of the BBC’s online offer”.

The Trust will expect the Executive to provide regular updates on BBC Online and Red Button’s progress against all targets set out in the review, with the first reports within six months.

The consultation remains open until August 13, 2013.