The newspaper industry are up in arms over the decision to deliver quality content, such as news services and the popular iPlayer TV service, straight to mobile devices. The Newspapers Publishers Association are so incensed they’re set to complain to ministers and the BBC Trust. Their complaint? They believe the latest smartphone app will “distort the market”. Nothing to do with their greedy plans to start charging for online content then?!
The app was announced at last week’s Mobile World Congress and is set to be available for iPhone users and other mobile devices, such as Blackberry and Google’s Android, by the end of the year.
The move comes as part of the BBC’s plans to increase their presence in the ever popular smartphone industry but has angered many other media companies who are looking to create revenue from digital content.
Along with the BBC, other news organisations such as Sky and The Telegraph have also launched free smartphone apps. Other outlets have paid for apps, such as The Guardian which costs £2.39.
“At a time when the BBC is facing unprecedented levels of criticism over its expansion, and when the wider industry is investing in new models, it is extremely disappointing that 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,” said NPA’s director David Newell.
The NPA have even gone as far to say the plans are “damaging” and that they “threaten to strangle an important market for news and information”.
Harsh words but the BBC are refusing to be bullied into backing out of their plans. They’ve hit back by saying the content is already available on some mobile devices. Currently the BBC has one of the most popular websites in the UK and already launched a number of successful mobile services, such as the iPlayer on selected handsets.
So is the BBC in the wrong? In my opinion, not at all! The BBC have a responsibility to provide quality news and content to license fee payers, whether that’s on the TV, internet or on mobile phone. The world of news consumption is changing and players need to change and adapt to keep up. There are already many questions about the rights media organisations have to charge for online content and it seems this latest announcement by the BBC might help to add fuel to the fire for those campaigning against the proposed charges.