BBC Apps Given Green Light

The BBC Trust has given the all-clear for the BBC to proceed with the launch of three smartphone apps announced earlier this year.

The apps were announced by BBC director of future media & technology Erik Huggers at Mobile World Congress in February. The first was a BBC News app for the iPhone, due to launch in April, followed by a BBC Sport app, which was due to be ready in time for the World Cup, with a BBC iPlayer app to follow. But following objections from rivals, the BBC agreed to delay its launch pending an investigation by the BBC Trust into whether a Public Value Test (PVT) might be required.

Today, following an assessment of the proposals, the Trust confirmed that the BBC can go ahead with the apps. The assessment included the commissioning of independent research into the apps market, looking at four areas: the potential impact of the proposed apps; the financial implications; whether apps would involve the BBC in a new area of untested activity; and the duration of the proposed apps.

The Trust was satisfied that the proposed apps posed no problems in respect of any of these and so the BBC News iPhone app will be made available for download in the App Store today, with versions for Android, Blackberry “and other devices” to follow. The BBC says it cannot yet confirm a launch date for the BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer apps.

BBC Trustee Diane Coyle, who led the review, says: “The apps market is rapidly taking off as more people choose to get their news, sport and other online content while theyre on the move. The Trust has a duty to represent the interests of licence fee payers, who will increasingly expect to access BBC content in this way, but also to listen to concerns raised by industry. In this case we have concluded that while the apps market is developing quickly and we will monitor the launch of BBC apps, a PVT is not required.”