The BBC has dismissed critics who have questioned the public value of its plans to launch mobile apps, arguing they fit within its public service remit.
This week the Newspaper Publishers Association asked the BBC Trust – the public-service broadcaster’s governing body – to launch a public value test before giving the green light to the planned free apps.
A BBC spokesman said the launch of a news and sports app was within its public service remit. “The BBC Online service licence is quite explicit in allowing us to repurpose existing content for different platforms. To now claim that BBC Online should be regulated differently, because the same content is consumed on a phone rather than a laptop, doesn’t make sense. It also ignores the fact that we’ve been repurposing content for more than a decade.”
David Newell, director of the NPA, had criticised the BBC Trust’s “current attitude and inaction… when they know that the BBC will be launching such apps in direct competition with commercial operators’ paid-for or ad-funded apps for their online services.”
A BBC Trust spokesman said it’s in talks with the NPA.
“Following some initial concerns they raised, we invited the NPA to write to us explaining their concerns,” he said. “We’ve received their letter and will look forward to discussing it with them.”
The BBC last month announced plans to launch mobile apps which repurposed content from its online news site for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry users in April (nma.co.uk 17 February 2010).