BBC Braces for Mobile Backlash

Last week on Mobile Marketing Watch, I covered the BBC’s investment of time and resources into expanding its mobile presence with the release of dedicated mobile news and sports applications.

Shortly after the British Broadcasting Corporation announced its plans, the backlash began. And now a plethora of privately owned British newspapers are expressing their vehement disapproval of the BBC’s mobile plans in fear that the publicly owned news juggernaut will gain too much market leverage.

According to The Times Online: “Plans to launch a dedicated BBC iPhone application (app) has been harshly criticized by the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) which is set to complain to ministers and the BBC Trust that the new smartphone service will distort the market.”

The NPA is a powerful trade group representing the national British newspapers in this matter. Their goal? To successfully lobby the BBC Trust and the British Department of Culture, Media and Sport and effectively have the applications banned.

David Newell, the NPA’s director, summarized his organization’s argument in a terse and biting statement:

“Not for the first time, the BBC is preparing to muscle into a nascent market and trample over the aspirations of commercial news providers. 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.”