UK Newspapers Urge BBC to Ignore the iPhone

UK Newspapers Urge BBC to Ignore the iPhone
There's dumb and then there's breathtakingly dumb. There's clueless and then there's the Newspaper Publishers Association of Britain, which is calling upon the publicly owned British Broadcasting Corp. to forego delivering news and sports via iPhone apps.

Why not just tell them to pull the plug on their Web site?

The BBC itself allows the head of the NPA to offer what passes for an explanation:

" 'Not for the first time, the BBC is preparing to muscle into a nascent market and trample over the aspirations of commercial news providers,' said David Newell, director of the NPA.

"He said that the market for iPhone news apps was 'a unique and narrow commercial space' that would be 'distorted' by the BBC apps.

" 'This is not, as the BBC argues, an extension of its existing online service, but an intrusion into a very tightly defined, separate market.' "

Wow. Apple is powerful and all, and the iPhone has been a game-changer, all right, but a "separate market?" That's not just wrong, it couldn't be more wrong. What the emergence of the iPhone and smart phones, in general, reinforces - or should reinforce -- for the newspaper industry is that there are no separate markets anymore, only a single group of consumers who will take their news any way they well please, thank-you.

More from that BBC story:

"A spokesperson for the BBC said that its online service license, granted by the BBC Trust, was 'quite explicit in allowing the BBC to repurpose its online content for consumption on mobile devices.'

"The BBC news app, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will offer content from the BBC News Web site including written stories, correspondent blogs and video.

"A sports app will be released before the World Cup, which starts in June, and will combine content from the BBC Sport website and 5 Live radio."

How could a responsible news organization do anything less?

Over here in the states: National Public Radio has an iPhone app, while PBS NewsHour either does not or is mighty clever about keeping it hidden.

So what exactly should British newspapers do in response to this BBC embrace of the iPhone? Stop whining, for one thing. And, of course, they should build their own bloody iPhone apps.

This story, "UK Newspapers Urge BBC to Ignore the iPhone" was originally published by Network World.

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