The BIG news trickling out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is that BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is launching a trio of apps: an iPlayer app, BBC News iPhone app and a Sports results app. The announcement was made during a keynote speech by the BBC internet head Erik Huggers, who announced that BBC will offer iPhone applications for its news and sport content from April this year.

This is a free application and has been widely appreciated by iPhone users and analysts. BBC has also chalk out a clear vision for its iPhone app - web equals mobile; mobile equals web.

BBC iPhone App: What to expect

- The BBC News iPhone app will use carousels for categories of news that will include - Top Stories, World, Business, etc,

- It will also come accompanied with a breaking news ticker at the top, along with options and a button to stream BBC News live.

- News posts are very similar to the desktop version; the only difference is that here, videos should run via the BBC News iPhone app.

- You can now access more categories in a horizontal row with the landscape mode; besides leads appearing as you move across the headline/image tiles.

- BBC has also revealed that it is also considering releasing apps later this year for its popular iPlayer service. The on-demand video and audio player serves up 20 million requests for TV and radio programmes every week.

- The iPhone app will combine content from the BBC Sport website and 5 Live radio, including live commentary and scores, and will allow fans to watch sports matches live on their phone. There are also plans to update the apps later in the year to include more content, including Formula 1.

- A different version of the apps is also in the offing for international audiences, supported by advertising.

BBC News iPhone app’s ambitious plans

Erik Huggers also announced future plans for BBC News iPhone app at the MWC. He revealed that the iPhone is the first smartphone for BBC to take their plunge into the mobile phone market. It will soon be followed by version for the BlackBerry, Google Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Flash, Palm, Samsung, etc.

The BBC news app, to be released in April, will offer content from the BBC News website. This will include - correspondent blogs, written stories, besides audio and video. The app will also encourage a lot of user involvement - users will also be able to send comments and pictures directly to the BBC newsroom. Moreover, there are plans of the sports app to be released during the Football World Cup, which starts in June, and will initially focus on football.

BBC News iPhone app might create tension in the Mobile world

While the new BBC News iPhone app has be offered as a free app (as Sky and the Daily Telegraph), some other iPhone apps in this category however are paid such as The Guardian (£2.39). Analysts are apprehensive that the apps might add to tension between publishers of paid-for content and those dependent on other revenue.

Although. BBC’s strategy to foray into a highly saturated and competitive news and sports app market is understandable; it definitely can destabilize the market to a certain extent. Many have not taken BBC’s free app service lightly – mainly those who are looking out to market news content. However, BBC maintains that it is simply providing users with digital content they have already paid for – just only in a way which suits them.


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