@MWC: BBC lays out plan for increased mobile play

**As published in RCR Wireless News** BARCELONA – As BBC’s director of future media and technology announced the broadcaster’s latest plans for the mobile platform he did, frankly, what more media outlets should do: took the industry to task for its increasingly fragmented approach to content. “We find it rather strange that the burden falls on us to reformat and repurpose our programming and content for every other platform and every device that comes out every six months,” Erik Huggers said in a brief keynote at Mobile World Congress. “Is it really necessary for us to have that fragmented of a market? Do we really all need our own app store?”

BBC would prefer a more standardized, less crowded marketplace in terms of operating system and device requirements, but it appreciates the opportunity to give its audience all the choices available, he said. BBC would also like to work more directly with carriers and other partners to develop and prove technology that would make the lives of every player in the food chains easier. Data compression, for example, an area which the broadcaster is already researching heavily, would mutually benefit all parties, he added. “We want to work with the industry – policy, technology, what have you – to make sure rich media distribution doesn’t become a choking point,” Huggers said. The last point he took the opportunity to make centered on analytics data. Even with plenty of interest, research and investment being put into mobile analytics firms, BBC is less than pleased with what it’s getting in return. “It feels like we’re flying in the dark. There’s no real good data out there,” he said. BBC is in the enviable position of having a mission – inform, educate, entertain – that remains exactly the same as it did back in 1922 when it was first established. Under those guidelines, it makes sense for the broadcaster to leverage mobile to every degree imaginable even with all the issues the BBC would like to see resolved in its interest. Today Huggers announced the BBC will be launching at least two new applications – BBC News and BBC Sport – across as many platforms as possible. The company is also considering launching BBC iPlayer applications later in the year. BBC News, which will launch on the iPhone first, then BlackBerry, Android and others, is slated to launch in April. BBC Sport is expected to follow shortly thereafter with the same OS rollout.