Ofcom has launched a consultation into plans by the BBC to make changes to its local output.
The BBC has announced plans to drop regional TV news bulletins produced in Cambridge and Oxford and consolidate the output of its local radio network. The last editions of both programmes will be broadcast before Christmas.
Its planned to put greater resources into digital services.
In a statement, Ofcom said it recognised that with well-funded global players there was a need for the BBC to transform and make “some difficult decisions and trade-offs”.
The regulator now has to ensure that the BBC’s plans to increase the amount of online content at the local level don’t encroach onto a local media sector that’s already living with significant falls in advertising revenue.
“While the proposals will mean that the volume of BBC online local news content may grow and attract more audience, it will not necessarily replace the interest in and consumption of commercial online local news content that already exists.”
It plans to gather information from the BBC and commercial news publishers to assess the actual impact of the BBC’s proposals on audiences.
The BBC also wants to reduce the amount of news coverage on Radio 5 Live and broadcast additional sports content. Evidence suggests this would help extend its reach among younger people and those from lower socio-economic groups.
However, Ofcom has rejected plans by the BBC to drop the live music quota on BBC Radio 2 Instead its proposing to amend the quota to exclude repeats and apply only to genuinely live or new specially recorded music.
Ofcom is asking for comments by 18 January 2023.