BBC to offer new mobile applications for its content

MUMBAI: BBC has announced that it is to offer a new range of applications that will deliver BBC Online services to a range of mobile devices.

At a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress, BBC Director of Future Media and Technology Erik Huggers said that the BBC is planning to release mobile applications for BBC News and BBC Sport on a wide range of smartphones, starting with a BBC News application for iPhone in April 2010.

The application will focus on providing quick access to the BBC‘s existing journalistic content, which will be repurposed for the devices. The BBC is also considering BBC iPlayer applications for release later in the year. All applications will be available free of charge.
Licence fee payers have already been able to access the BBC website on mobile phones for eight years.

With smartphone usage expected to increase in 2010, audiences now expect to be able to access BBC content and services on the move with an user-experience that‘s simple, personal and optimised for the device.

Huggers said, "It‘s been 12 years since the launch of BBC Online, but as media converges and technology accelerates, licence fee payers are increasingly using sophisticated handheld devices to access information. They tell us that they want to access the digital services that they have paid for at a time and place that suits them. This announcement means that we are catching up with our audiences, and the same content that we broadcast on television and make available online can now be better enjoyed on the move. We are putting technology to work to create greater public value."

The first app to launch will be BBC News, which will offer breaking news and latest stories. It will provide the same content already available on the website, such as features and analysis, reports from BBC correspondents around the world, and a wide range of live and on-demand audio and video content.

The news application, which will be available in early April, will give users flexibility in how they personalise their news experience. More features will be added throughout the year. The news app will initially be available on Apple (iPhone and iPod Touch) devices.  

BBC News applications will follow on RIM (Blackberry) and Google (Android) operating systems later in the year. The BBC will also work with other providers to enable these applications on their mobile devices.

A BBC Sport application will be available in The App Store for iPhone and iPod touch in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The live match experience will be at the heart of the application. For the World Cup, football fans will be able to access live match video, whenever it‘s being broadcast on TV by the BBC, and on-demand clips of every goal scored in the tournament.

Users will also be able to enjoy more of the BBC‘s other unique content on mobile, such as BBC Radio 5 Live, authored live text commentaries from BBC presenters and blogs.

Later in the year, the BBC will create even more value from its sports rights by adding Formula 1 and coverage of other sports. Applications will follow on RIM (Blackberry) and Google (Android) operating systems later in the year.

A range of unauthorised BBC applications are already available in various application stores. These new official applications are intended to give licence payers an authorised alternative.

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