back to article BBC clambers onto iPhone bandwagon

The BBC has announced it will be launching iPhone applications for News and Sports results, with other platforms to follow. The applications, which were announced today in Barcelona, will be available for the iPhone in April with the other smart phone platforms to follow over the next few months. The News application, which …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I'm a non-person!

    "The more-observant reader will have noticed that those groups don't include those over 40 - if you're in to your fifth decade then the BBC isn't really interested in you."

    As I don't exist to them, I'm not paying the license fee?

  2. Chad H.

    Over 50s

    I think it's not that the BBC isn't interested in over 50s, more they don't think over 60s are interested in mobile content.

    There's no point in targeting someone who isn't going to show up anyway.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Some letters and d161ts

      Well, how do I get to show up? I'm 64 and a user of BBC content on mobile, deskside and netbook, (I do have the odd radio and tv tuner as well.)

      Mine's the one with the SSD in the pocket.

      You'll never have my iPhone unless you pry it from my cold dead hands.

      1. Richard Taylor 2
        Thumb Up

        Dead hands

        Prefer warm, the battery will probably still be up...

      2. LinkOfHyrule

        Don't worry matey

        Don't worry matey, I'm a young mid 20's person and they don't have a catergory for me either. If they did it would be called:

        No Licence, Only watches iPlayer, In fact only really watches Charlie Brooker, Top Gear and Newsnight when Paxman is on giving some tw*t greif (age 0-999)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          amen to Charlie Brooker

          A pity they give him disgracefully poor slots on their most niche channel, probably gaining him fewer viewers than the test card. Presumably the non stop crap they broadcast on BBC2 most evenings can't wait half an hour to make room for the one comedy show on TV that doesn't look like it was put together by a committee of lobotomy patients + Gervais/Brand/McIntyre/[your favourite unfunny comedian here].

  3. RichyS

    WTF, indeed.

    Er, what's wrong with the existing iPlayer website? Works a treat streaming H.264 (sans Flash) to my iPod...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    So the 40+ don't matter ?

    If the BBC are targetting only those 18-40 lets see how long they'd survive if the 40+ didnt pay their TV licenses

    People currently in their 40's started the Home Computer revolution in the 80's.

    Obviously Erik Huggers forgets what the BBC has done in the past and only wants to be Trendy. Perhaps he needs to be educated on who really spends a lot of the money

  5. Patrick O'Reilly

    HTML5 is all you need.

    HTML5 video tag, AppCache and web Database would take care of most of their requirements. And be open and free.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge


      Last I checked, there were some hefty licencing fees involved in using the codecs required for HTML5 video..

      So, while it may be open source, it certainly isn't free.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Exactly which video codec would that be using then? Last time I checked they were still arguing about it

  6. Wize

    "...if you're in to your fifth decade then the BBC isn't really interested in you."

    But they still drag up the repeats from when this age range were the main focus.

  7. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    amazing phone, but...

    Still can't think of an actual use for one (except for waving it about in the pub of course).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: amazing phone, but...

      How about these ground-breaking ideas:

      - phoning people

      - texting people

      - browsing the internet

      - as an MP3 player

      - as a camera

      - etc

      - etc

      You didn't really think that one through very well, did you?

      1. Jon 52


        excpet my piddling old k880i free from contract for 18months can do all of the above without costing me an arma and a leg, and I can go over a week without charging it.

    2. LinkOfHyrule

      hehe good one

      If only someone made an app for it that lets you get served at that bar quicker!

      It comes with the "I'm a poser" app pre-installed I'm led to believe!

      *Yes I know I'm slagging off apple again, I did slag off MS and Linux this week to though before you all start!

    3. Ascylto
      Jobs Halo

      Oh yeah?

      This is no longer true!

      Some unemployed people (and scruffy people) now have iPhones. I'll have to change. But to what?

    4. Frank Bough

      Here's an Idea... call always use it to call / text / MMS / email / IM / tweet / facebook etc etc etc your FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES AND/OR FAMILY.


  8. tony72

    Old fogeys

    "if you're in to your fifth decade then the BBC isn't really interested in you."

    You say that as if it's unfair, but the fact is if the over-50s in my workplace, my own parents, and basically all the older folks I know are any example, then they have ancient phones with 2-line text displays and midi ring-tones, and they think these phones do everything they need from a phone. They have no interest in getting a smartphone of any sort, which they see as over-complicated and full of functions they don't need. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I'd bet they are a pretty small percentage. So good on the BBC for not wasting resources on a demographic that won't care.

    On the other hand, shame on the BBC for jumping on the iPhone bandwagon just for the cool factor. As you point out, they could deliver the same services via the web in a standards-based manner instead of via an app, and implicitly support a lot more handsets. Or they could support 8x more handsets in one go by targeting Symbian S60 rather than iPhone in the first instance. Even Windows Mobile would be a better option.

    1. N2

      Old Fogeys?

      "if you're in to your fifth decade then the BBC isn't really interested in you."

      Unless you dont watch live TV and thus dont require a license!

  9. Rob Davis

    Fragmentation of web standards through custom platform solutions

    Bill, I couldn't agree more with the last paragraph of your article.

    These are just web services and therefore shouldn't require custom solutions per device: CSS media type should take care of that for near or complete automatic re-purposing of content for different platforms with different screens.

    Fragmenting the standards, iPhone Apps that just serve up information are one example of this when the web was all about equality, compatibility and open standards. Another is iPhone banking Apps, again, banks have already provided secure web based systems.

    If iPhone Multi-touch capability is made use of then there is a justification, unless web standards that handle events (e.g. Javascript) can cope with such gestures. We already have onClick() event etc. what about onPinch() event.

    The commercial hunger of a company to push through enhancements to the user experience, on the other hand might be required, putting pressure on perhaps slower, maybe unfocused, committee-led standards bodies to catch up.

    The .mobi standard and W3C need to push forward with open standard equivalents, perhaps?

  10. Greg J Preece

    You act like they weren't already on it

    "BBC clambers onto iPhone bandwagon"

    Hah! The BBC has been an advertising arm of Apple for quite some time now. Can't think of another company that gets all its product announcements - never mind releases - featured on headline TV news. I remember watching their gushing fanboi report on the iPhone launch. And try spotting a laptop/phone/other piece of kit used on the Beeb that doesn't have an Apple logo on the back.

    Just clambered on? Get real - the BBC *built* the bandwagon.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: You act like they weren't already on it

      "Can't think of another company that gets all its product announcements - never mind releases - featured on headline TV news"

      Umm. Windows 7 springs to mind.

      In fact, do a little search of the BBC using this in google " microsoft release" you'll get about 19,200 hits. Search for " apple release" and you get only 4560.

    2. Ascylto

      Oh look...

      it's another Microsoft troll.

      Do just a little research and you'll see the influence the BBC has. There is far more Microsoft coverage (as you would expect) AND ex-Microsoft employees pepper the BBC.

      Back under the bridge, now. Go on, off you go.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      The Nexus one got a lot of coverage...

  11. jai

    without apparently noticing that HTML could (and does) provide provide a standard platform

    provide provide? that's taking doublespeak rather literally isn't it?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But not the flash required for so much web video (iPlayer!).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: "HTML"

      ...another commeter already posted that iPlayer works without flash (I haven't tried it myself!)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Riddle me this?

    Do BBC employees get any form of discount on Apple purchases?

    1. Bilgepipe
      Gates Horns

      Nice Try

      The ex-Microsoft staffers at the BBC don't let them. Research before trolling.

  14. Duncan Jeffery

    Customer ? What's that ?

    "Apparently the BBC now devides its viewers into four categories: Mobile First (aged 30-40), Social Animals (18-30), Mobile Lifestyle (25-40) and the Addicted (30-40). The more-observant reader will have noticed that those groups don't include those over 40 - if you're in to your fifth decade then the BBC isn't really interested in you."

    Of course this latter demographic will contain the largest number of license payers - and who cares about them ?

    Hoping for a Tory victory to clip the BBC's wings

  15. Harry

    Maybe it COULD cater for the over-forties.

    HTML-only, no javascript and static images only would be extremely welcome by those who want to view for functional reasons rather than be besieged by wholly unnecessary nuisanceware.

  16. Chris 3

    Don't quite see the need...

    .... for an iPlayer app - on iPhone/iPod Touch at least.

    The BBC already serves up a very nice HTML mobile version of the iPlay which works splendidly on these devices - make a shortcut on your home-screen and if effectively works nearly as well as an app.


    ... Bu then I'm 46, so perhaps I shouldn't be expected to understand

    1. SynnerCal

      I don't see a need either

      Couldn't agree more - the current iPlayer delivery works fine on my iPod Touch (no iPhone for me because I prefer my old N95), so where's the driver for a (pair?) of dedicated apps. In which case, I'm kind of suspicious that this is only announced so it looks like the 'Future Media' group at the Beeb are actually doing _something_ to earn their chunk of license-payer cash.

      As to the blantant ageism of the folks concerned, I'm not really surprised, the Beeb's becoming more and more the "Club 18-30" of the TV world. Heck, at this rate we'll be down to the Sky/Fox level of brainlessness in a very few years. That said, I've got to smile that effectively the under-18s and the over-40's are now 'unpeople' as far as these bozo's are concerned.

      Of course, with the paranoiac tin-foil hat on - maybe this is the first shot in a move to redeliver iPlayer only via dedicated apps. That would allow more control of what content is seen where, and on what platform.

      Great article though. :D

  17. Subtilior


    They should expand the TV license to cover iPhones if they're going to put content on them.

    1. Ted Treen

      I presume

      the "TV license" would be something our colonial cousins might want/have/need.

      I have a TV licence, which I assume would cover me should I acquire an iPhone.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Only if you watch "live streaming"

        You don't have to pay for a license to "watch again" on iPlayer.

        That suits me, I don't have an iPhone, but I do have a modified XBox instead of a digital tuner, which means I can watch BBC on my Analogue telly and not have to pay...

        It's an interesting concept and paradigm shift towards focussing on media anywhere - I think the BBC has been quite innovative in pushing the TV on-demand envelope, but as the content already works on the iPhone, I don't really see the point of focussing extra time on some fancy enhancements to the HTML + QuickTime format that i(InsertNameHere) users can use... Pretty soon we will all be walking round glued to our little screens instead of sitting down together on the sofa - bang goes the nuclear family, but up goes the bandwidth demands and I guess now mobile operators are going to start getting as stroppy as the ISP's about the Beeb's perceived hogging of their bandwidth.

        Now, off to see if anyone has managed to crack RTMPE so I can watch 4od on my XBox too.

  18. Paul Shirley

    where's the content?

    Since the entire BBC site now appears to just be a search engine for iPlayer I'm not sure why they're bothering - there's bugger all content left to present! Every damn search for information seems to just link to a iPlayer episode list, with fsck all information about anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: where's the content?

      Try visiting a page other than fool!

  19. Anonymous Coward


    I get all the news I want, downloaded automatically onto my Nexus, via an RSS reader. Why would the BBC give me a sub-standard app to do this, let alone spend the money implementing it on many platforms?

    Supid stupid stupid.

  20. Matt 5

    Yet another set of iPhone apps...

    That ultimatley aren't much more than glorified RSS feed readers and/or customised websites.

    Doesn't say much about the iPhone experience does it when any popular site feels the need to produce and application for it just so people can read it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... and I think that's the point here.

      The BBC has developed iPhone applications which are probably little more than very thin client containers for the existing content, i.e. very little development effort required. It's all about channel delivery and cost of delivery for each channel - here they're looking at the iPhone as a channel which is seprate to the rest of the mobile market, probably because of the cost vs reward (especially given the "cool" status and publicity associated with launching an iPhone app).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To AC @ 15.05

    Yes, BBC staff do get discounts from Apple :)

    And (HTML most likely) works fine for me, including iPlayer. Waste of OUR cash creating apps and downloads.

  22. Steve Ringham

    BBC love-out

    I'm really starting to believe that many Reg readers (at least the one who bother to comment) are also Daily Fail readers. It's the only way to explain the amount of flaming Auntie receives, every time her name is mentioned.

    To the previous posters:

    No - BBC staff don't get discounts on Apple kit

    I'm sitting in a BBC office in White City as I type this. The only Apple kit I can see belongs to a couple of contractor developers sitting across from me. All the standard desktops and laptops are HP.

    And why does the BBC need it's wings clipping Duncan? It's still responsible for some of the most entertaining and original programming in the UK.

    The BBC are frequently accused (sometimes rightly) of wasting the licence fee. So what happens when they focus a product on those who will actually use it? You all start moaning about being left out (apart from Tony72 and Chad).

    Take your cake and shove it up your a**e!

  23. Nameless Invertebrate
    Thumb Down

    but will this allow... to watch BBC Live News 24 streaming 3G anywhere to my phone?

    ...operator say's "No!"


    This just in.

    "The more-observant reader will have noticed that those groups don't include those over 40 - if you're in to your fifth decade then the BBC isn't really interested in you."

    It's OK: 40 is the new 30.

  25. Neil 7
    Jobs Horns

    iPhone app for web content?

    So is the iPhone getting an app to access BBC content because it's browser and lack of Flash means it's too sh1t to access the BBC Website?

    And there I was, thinking the iPhone gave the best browsing experience possible... nah, not really! :)

    1. Ascylto
      Jobs Halo

      Flash - in the pan

      "An Adobe product manager has apologized for allowing a potentially serious bug in Flash Player to remain unfixed for more than 16 months," (El Reg)

      Oh! That was after Steve Jobs described Adobe as 'lazy'!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    All hail hail the BB of C?

    The beeb gets my vote but why the dependency on HP kit?

    Shoorli shum peepul no yes?

    1. chr0m4t1c

      That's how bug businesses work

      Big company that needs kit, talks to other big companies who supply kit and say things like:

      "We want to buy 40,000 desktop PCs and ancillary equipment like printers over the next three years, what sort of deal will you offer us to use you as sole supplier for that period?"

      Big supplier says something like:

      "We'll give you 25% discount off list price for everything you buy off us in that period."

      And a deal is struck.

      It's unlikely that they're dependent on HP, more likely that HP cut them the best deal at the time, they're just as likely to end up with Dell or Fujitsu or whoever next time.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "announced today in Barcelona"

    Good to see a British company, ubiquitous in Britain, announce it's British products in some other country where people don't use them. That's the kind of marketing super-brilliance that makes me glad to have helped pay for their first class flight to Spain.

    *thumbs up*

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Auntie is only really interested in...

    Housewives and left-wing bleeding-heart media studies students! That's not entirely fair. Some of their science programming is good. The rest is utter chod. Can I have my money back please...

  29. Ascylto
    Gates Horns

    And in case you should be in any doubt ...

    The BBC person responsible for signing the contract with Siemens for the BBC phone system which doesn't work and will probably never work has left the BBC.

    Who does he work for?

    Well, Microsoft, of course!

    Sounds about right!

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