The BBC has announced huge cutbacks to its online offerings, with hundreds of jobs and websites to be axed in a move that will slash £34 million from its online budget.

180 websites will go offline this year, with this number reaching 200 (almost half of what the BBC offers in total) by February 2013.

The sites facing the chop include teen site Switch, skills website RAW, creative teen service Blast, documentary website Video Nation and community sites h2g2 and 606. Radio sites such as 1Xtra, 5 live sports extra, 6 Music and Radio 7 will become automated in the move.

However, the BBC is insisting that the reorganisation will lead to a re-focused, more distinctive platform that will help to reduce competition with commercial websites.

Try telling that to the 360 people whose jobs will be lost in the shake-up though.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: "BBC Online is a huge success, but our vast portfolio of websites means we sometimes fall short of expectation.

"A refocusing on our editorial priorities, a commitment to the highest quality standards, and a more streamlined and collegiate way of working will help us transform BBC Online for the future."

The iPlayer will also see some changes as a result of the cutbacks with the platform being "re-shaped into a unified offering, bringing together programming and programming information with archive content" - whatever that means.

The plans are part of the BBC's plans to shave 20 per cent off of its online budget, of £137 million, as a result of the Licence Fee settlement.