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The BBC is reportedly planning to reduce its online services in an attempt to make its content easier to find, as it tries to fight competition from US streaming services.

The BBC Earth and BBC Arts sections of the website will be removed and there will be fewer features as well as less focus on celebrity gossip. Instead the corporation will concentrate on eight key areas: iPlayer, news, music and spoken word, weather, sport, children’s content, BBC Bitesize and the homepage.

These areas are said to be responsible for more than 90% of the BBC’s online audience. The reported cull of services comes as the corporation attempts to overcome the challenge posed by services such as YouTube and Netflix.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the BBC director general, Tony Hall, told staff on Monday: “In the global market, against well-resourced competitors, we have to concentrate on a smaller number of services that deliver our best content online.”

A BBC source told the newspaper: “The strategy will mean reducing over time the production of online content that is less used by the public. We are already evolving BBC iPlayer to reflect changing patterns of consumption. IPlayer set the standard that others have followed. We need to leap ahead once more.”

The BBC is also trying to improve its offering to young people. In March, the corporation announced it was launching a children’s app.

The broadcaster said the app for six- to-12-year-olds would “provide a daily diet of inspiring, funny and fascinating facts, as well as enable young users to upload and share their creative endeavours, building social communities around particular passions”.

In June, Lord Hall warned Britain could be “sleepwalking towards a world in which children and young people barely encounter public service broadcasting content”.

He joined the Channel 4 chief executive, Alex Mahon, to call for legislation to be updated to ensure public service content had prominence on smart televisions, tablets and smartphones.

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