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BBC Trust proposes merging Online and Red Button services

The BBC’s governing body has proposed that the broadcaster’s cherished Red Button services for TV be combined with the BBC Online service, which provides public service content to around 22mn people each week.

The Trust recently carried out a service review on these two offerings with input from license fee payers and stakeholder organisations, and concludes that “the service licences for these services should be merged”.

The main reason it gives for merging these two services is that the Red Button service – which provides on-screen access to news and sport headlines, weather and other information – may struggle to meet audience expectations in future, as capacity is being reduced on some digital TV platforms.

The BBC Trust also points to the success that Online has already achieved in giving audiences access to BBC content across computers, mobiles, tablets and television, as shown by the corporation’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.

However, these proposals have already met with criticism from some quarters: Nigel Walley, managing director of UK media strategy consultancy Decipher, described the proposals on Twitter earlier today (May 20th) as “madness.. the very opposite of what should happen”.

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