Erik Huggers, director of BBC Future Media and Technology, has reiterated the BBC News site's commitment to linking out, outlining plans to increase external links and traffic directed to other news sources.

In a blog post on the BBC website, Huggers gave extra details of the BBC's plans for its website. The BBC Executive's plans for BBC Online, part of its Putting Quality First strategy, were endorsed by the BBC Trust in its initial conclusions, but are still subject to the Trust's approval.

By 2013 BBC Online will send double the traffic it currently directs to other websites, says Huggers.

"[O]ur News, Sport & Weather products need to do a better job of sending traffic elsewhere, both internally (e.g. sending sports journalism to BBC Radio 5 Live or weather forecasts to science & nature) and beyond. Already the BBC is the second biggest referrer of traffic to online newspapers, something we want to do even better," he says.

In its review of the broadcaster's main site back in June 2008, the BBC Trust said it was 'disappointed' with the click-through rate for the site's links to external sites and asked the corporation to improve this service to users. The site has since trialled embedding external links within news articles.

The corporation will move from "building websites" to "managing products", he says. News, sport and weather will be on of five new "product portfolios".

"Continued sprawl is not the answer; we need a focused service that gives audiences the content and services they want at their fingertips, meets our public purposes in the digital age and leaves space for others to thrive," says Huggers.

"(...)BBC Online started with text-based journalism on the web - similar to the service on Ceefax. Then, as the web began to mature, new media budgets were given to the BBC's divisions to go and build websites that aimed to meet our public purposes online - but with no central strategy."

As part of the Putting Quality First plans, the BBC Executive has proposed that by 2013 it will cut its budget for BBC Online by 25 per cent and drop 200 directories from its website.

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