back to article Newspapers slam BBC iPhone app plans

Newspaper publishers are calling on the BBC Trust to rein in the broadcaster's plans to start making applications for smartphones. The BBC said it will release a news iPhone app in April, and the move has not been sent to the BBC Trust for approval. David Newell, boss of the Newspaper Publishers Association, said the BBC …


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  1. Macka
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    Hurray for the BBC

    I filled in a survey recently for the BBC News website. At the end of it my only complaint was that I couldn't view any of their Video news content on my iPhone because it's flash based. If they're going to create an optimised experience for me and provide that functionality (as Sky News do) then I'm all for it. What an excellent use of my license money.

    As for the BBC Trust and the Media Affairs Select Committee: don't listen to the naysayers, they just want to piggy back on your position to push their own agenda to make more money. This move by the BBC is a good thing.

  2. Headache
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    Pro Apps

    Now surely the BBC exists to provide news, services and features that will be of benefit to the license fee paying public. Now if we, that public, want iPhone apps that let us gain access to all the BBC content and the BBC are going ahead with that then great.

    The argument that the BBC's content offers an unfair competative advantage is in my opinion a load of rubbish. I want that content and I'm sure millions of other iPhone, Android and Blackberry users would love it too. Frankly if other companies can't compete they can take their tears elsewhere and stop spoiling the party for the rest of us.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Thats a really really stupid thing to make out, just how nascent is the AppStore anyway? Jeez its been going two years now and is utterly full of news apps.

    Its interesting to see the BBCs news pages regarding this, on the right under 'related internet links' they list a whole swathe of appstore apps already released by the newspapers! They're afraid of a little competition it seems!?

    That failing industry who operate on Fleet Street are really afraid for their survival, so I suppose who can blame them for coming out with this total tosh to try and save their skins?

    Resistance is Futile, suckers.

  4. Dunstan Vavasour

    BBC should be a pioneer

    The BBC's purpose is to provide a comprehensive media source - it is this comprehensive nature which justifies the licence fee rather than a subscription model. This includes research into new technologies, where it has always been at the forefront: I'm thinking of Ceefax, Nicam, Dirac. And it should be an early adopter of new forms of media, and continue using them to provide its comprehensive service.

    Now, access to "news" has been disintermediated, and this means the newspapers have to work harder: I don't buy a newspaper to find out the news, I buy it for comment and opinion, something beyond basic reporting. If they consider their rôle to be as gatekeepers to news, they will surely fail. I do pay money to one online newspaper, but it's not for access to news, it's for online access to their crosswords, both to print and to complete online: this is added value. Displaying news stories in a mobile device isn't.

  5. Nicholas Wright


    Us BBC license payers are paying for advert free content. And fair does, the BBC seems to have an excellent news service, brought out iPlayer before all the other commercial companies, and is one of the first with an HD Freeview channel.

    Now, we do pay more that the usual Sky subscription (although how Sky has the barefaced cheek to charge you extra to watch Sport, and then STILL pump adverts at you is beyond me), and if it wasn't a condition of having a TV set (more or less) then perhaps less people would pay.

    So we're paying over the odds for good content with no adverts, tell me why we're not allowed that paid for content on any platform we choose.

    Anyway - what's the difference between a website and a mobile phone. I can already read the BBC news website on my Nokia S60.

  6. Alan Fitzsimmons
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    Hurrah for the Beeb As I license payer, I'm all for getting BBC content wherever I am in the UK. If I want news from other outlets, I'll pay for that too. But I don't.

  7. kissingthecarpet
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    Murdoch et al can do one

    100% agree with Headache & Macka above - the only people who complain about the BBC's "advantage" (read 'they're better than us & we don't like it') are foreign content providers like News International etc.

    Maybe someone should erect a large paywall around Rupert, so you have to pay to listen to him - what, no takers?

    Of course, the Tories will be in office (not in power) soon, so its goodbye to all that then,eh?

    Tory voters, repeat after me - "I'm a not a Conservative, because I don't want to conserve anything at all - not the BBC, not the planet, not the NHS etc. - I'm a Tory, so I think what Dave & Rupert tell me to think"

  8. bigolslabomeat

    Yes please

    "The corporation plans to launch services that would throw into serious doubt the commercial sector’s ability to make a return on its investment, and therefore its ability to support quality journalism."


    Maybe if more of the papers actually started providing quality journalism they'd be able to compete with the BBC, not that their is of *that* high a quality, but it's better than a lot (El Reg exempted of course).

  9. Richard Hodgson

    I am trying... figure out what the complaint is actually regarding: The BBC carried out a poll, that poll revealed that people wanted apps that would give them access to the content on their iPhones, and the beeb dutifully responded.

    Surely that's an excellent use of the licence fee money?

  10. Waster

    why shouldn't they.

    like any corporation the bbc should act in the best interest of its funders i.e the licence payer. as a licence payer, I want a BBC iphone app. happy for my money to go towards it.

    sour grapes from commercial new agencies isn't a good reason not to do it.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Raise the license fee to £1,000!

    Please take all my money. I'll do whatever you want.

    Who needs competition anyway?

  12. Nick Kew

    How many wrongs make a right?

    The original BBC iplayer rightly got stick for forcing punters to fork out for the Beeb's choice of viewing platform (selected Windows versions). That's like if in the early days the BBC had supplied its own approved radio (or TV) and refused to work with anyone else's! The right solution was to adopt an open standard so the user could use the user's choice of viewing platform.

    By selecting the iphone, they're doing exactly the same again!

    And there's another less-publicised issue in there. Now that iplayer has been fixed, I can watch it on a Nokia when on WIFI. But over 3G I get the message that it's only available over [a different network] (other multimedia like youtube work fine). So it's not just technology vendors but also service providers getting discriminated!

  13. Law
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    awww diddums

    "trample over the aspirations of commercial news providers."


  14. Sellotaped to Insanity

    Oh boo hoo for the big media corps

    The Beeb does something that everyone wants - big news corps etc bitch and moan... I say hurrah the Beeb, God Bless Auntie and all that.

    In the words of @kissingthecarpet: "Murdoch et al can do one"

  15. Ascylto

    Rupert - bare

    Rupert be damned. I'm happy for part of my licence fee to support smartphone content ... far happier than for part of my licence fee to support 'independent' Channel 4!

    As usual, the BBC naysayers are supporters of News International and Fux Group.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Why shouldn't they?

    Because the mechanisms already exist to do exactly what they're intending without them having to write a line of code.

    They publish an RSS feed. Every smartphone platform has RSS reader apps. There's no reason to have a news-source-specific app when you can aggregate your news from all sources into a single third-party app.

    The BBC should stick to publishing the news, not attempting to distribute it.

  17. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Don't waste monry on this!

    Bring back Dr Who!

    Oh. They did.


  18. Anonymous Coward

    I don't own an iPhone though

    ...and I dont have any plans to get one. Why should I pay for the BBC to develop on a propietary platform so the iPhone owners can get pretty pictures and videos with their news. What is wrong with a standard web page? Shouldn't we be pushing apple to support Flash instead and negate the need for the 'App'.....oh no cos that would mean Steve doesn't get to own everything and rip off the public.

  19. Gavin Bloeman

    It would be a real shame...

    It would be a real shame if quality journalism from the likes of the Telegraph and the Guardian were to suffer as a result of the BBC's might. They're only just finding their feet in the industry and attempting to find ways of monitising content through this media shift. I have downloaded both their apps and find it a great, easy way to access quality journalism.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the BBC but wouldn't like it if they were all that was left. Not a popular view on here, I know, but certainly mine. The real test should be to allow the BBC to launch but with the constraints of the apps having to pay for themselves and not just to come from the never ending pot full of license fee cash.

  20. Wozzie
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    Great work Auntie!

    Just like Annon above, I don't own an iPhone, and I have no plans to have one either. However, I _do_ think this is a great thing for the Beeb to do. Eventually they'll have apps for android and crackberry, just the same as they had offline readers for Symbian phones a few years ago (I still have it on my old Nokia E65). We pay a relatively small amount every year for the vast amount of _AD FREE_ high quality content we get. It's value for money that you just don't get anywhere else. Add to that the cost's they're being forced to incur with the Digital roll out and it just highlights how much they're doing with our £12 a month.

    I won't go too far into Skys "value for money" - over £200 a year for adverts every 15-20 mins, even pay per view events, I'm thinking boxing here, where you want to hear some commentary between the rounds, they cram adverts in and break up the feature.

    I appreciate that commercial businesses have to do all they can to reduce the competition and increase the return to their shareholders, but perhaps they'd make more money if they reduced their margins and increased the quality of their output. Then more of us might consider investing our time and money in their offerings. Until then, "Love" the "Mother Lovers" and let the Beeb show them just how it's done.

  21. Alan Denman

    hy th slavery

    one has to ask why on earth does the BBC cow tow to a proprietary gadget that is actually capable of Flash bu for its commercial driven ban.

    As awful as Flash is, at least it is more universal so why 'take the mountain to Mohammad'?

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