The BBC launched its new news website yesterday: the biggest redesign of the site since 2003. As well as navigational and layout changes, improved video and sharing capabilities, the BBC has created a new North American edition of the site, BBC.com (as opposed to BBC.co.uk.)
A new dedicated website team based in the BBC's Washington DC office will be "making sure that a new, North America edition front page reflects the stories, themes and issues which matter most to our users in the US and Canada," according to an article by the news website editor Steve Herrmann and the editor of the North America edition Matt Davis.
The editors promise "fast and comprehensive coverage of major stories affecting North America," citing the new US online news team's coverage of the sacking of General Stanley McChrystal as an example. New editorial features include Global Views, a series exploring America's relationship with the world, a new blog called American Frei by Matt Frei, and a video blog by World News America's Franz Strasser on immigration in the US.
However, the editors stress that this does not mean that the BBC is becoming a US news site in all but name. "Our agenda will remain distinctively global, underpinned by the BBC's extensive international newsgathering operation," the article said. According to AdAge, the editorial team will be focused on political stories, but will also tackle other relevant areas such as sports and entertainment. It will also publish a travel section in August.
AdAge spoke to Miranda Cresswell, a senior VP for BBC.com, who explained that as the BBC is run by a public trust, it cannot run ads to UK users, but it can outside the UK and much of the ad revenue comes from the US market. According to ComScore, BBC.com draws 17.4 million US readers, AdAge noted.
Responses on Twitter to the general launch of the new BBC site have been mixed, with seemingly more negative comments than positive. Press Gazette gathers a few here. But as the Guardian's Jemima Kiss notes, despite complaining about changes, most people quickly get used to these and after a few days can't remember what the old site used to look like.