BBC iPhone apps provoke media outcry

Plans by the BBC to launch two iPhone applications have caused a hue and cry from the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA).

The BBC plans to introduce a news based application this April, and later on a sports application.

But the NPA claimed that the corporation was damaging the market for applications. David Newell, director of the NPA accused the BBC of muscling into a nascent market and “trample over the aspirations of commercial news providers”.

The BBC will intrude into what’s a unique and narrow commercial space and distort the market, said Newell.

Some UK newspapers have already developed their own iPhone apps already. The NPA has asked the BBC Trust, the body that oversees the BBC to block the move. The NPA will also refer the matter to the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

What worries the NPA is that the BBC is financed by the licence fee and many publishers have argued that gives it an unfair advantage against commercial organisations.

The BBC itself claims the apps have been requested by licence fee payers who want to watch sport and see news on their smartphones.