Feeds

BBC online news ‘monopoly’ faces OFT scrutiny

...if ITN gets its way

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The BBC faces an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) inquiry into its practice of giving away news to commercially-operated Web sites for free, following a complaint from ITN, a rival news organisation.

Writing in today's Media Guardian, Stuart Purvis, ITN chief executive, claimed the BBC could, through this distribution strategy, "establish a monopoly 'news voice' across a whole series of new platforms - mobile phone, commercial Internet portals, broadband interactive services. The same services that were supposed to deliver more consumer choice not less".

The OFT may always choose not to take up ITN's complaint, but Purvis reckons the company has an "excellent" case to bring before EU competition authorities. Also, ITN is seeking advice on whether it can take the BBC board of governors to judicial review for "failure to abide by their own charter and agreement".

The BBC currently has distribution agreements in place with Yahoo!, Vodafone, BT Openworld, Cellnet and others. One could see how frustrating this would be to a news wholesaler such as ITN, or PA, or Reuters. Especially, since it is not an everyday event where the BBC has the upper hand.

A few weeks ago, the FT accused the BBC of bleeding value into Yahoo! by giving away news for free. We explained the rationale behind the BBC's move and noted that only news wholesalers had anything to fear. We also attacked the BBC's use of taxpayers' money to fund its online services.

It is all very well to follow the free, a basic orthodoxy of Web economics (give it away, build a community, and figure out how to make money later).
But it looks like the OFT has a juicy case to sink its teeth into.

And what will happen if ITN gets the regulators to beat up on the BBC? All in all, the Internet and other digital platforms will not represent a goldmine for traditional news wholesalers, BBC or no BBC.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and other free online content providers (wishing to market their site) will fill the place of the Corporation. And then there are the news aggregators, such as Moreover.com or newsnow.co.uk, which present a much cheaper proposition than likes of ITN. ®

Related stories

BBC 'bleeds value in to Yahoo!
More Cash Registers here

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.