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Old 03-30-2010, 07:52 AM   #1
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BBC postpones iPhone apps

crossposted from The Digital Reader

The BBC is reporting:
Quote:
The BBC Trust has asked the BBC to postpone its plans while it looks into the business case for the new services.

The free applications were due to be released in April but have met with criticism from groups who say they will skew the market for news apps.

Several newspapers including the Guardian and Daily Telegraph already offer both free and paid-for apps.

A spokesperson for the BBC Trust said that the body had decided to launch an assessment of the apps after “representations from industry”.

One of the most vocal opponents has been the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA), which said that the corporation would “damage the nascent market” for apps.
continued here

FYI: The underlying problem here is not apps, but the fact that the BBC is a tax funded organization in the UK, and it competes with news organizations like The Guardian, The Times, etc. The BBC has no profit incentive, so they give their content away for free.

I find the complaints about the free apps to be a little silly. Isn’t this same BBC content already available on mobile devices for free (via the browser)?
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:05 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
The BBC has no profit incentive, so they give their content away for free.
Not sure that's quite true, the BBC is enouraged to make profits to go back into programme making.
BBC Worldwide for example.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:30 AM   #3
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BBC Worldwide is the non-mandate arm of the BBC. BBC News, which I'd imagine the apps would be under, is covered by the taxpayer funded, public service mandate.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:07 AM   #4
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this is a shame. bbc always seem so on it, and ahead of the curve in a lot of ways (eg iplayer) but oh well, plenty of other options to keep me going!
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
The underlying problem here is not apps, but the fact that the BBC is a tax funded organization in the UK
A common misconception. In fact, the BBC does not receive any tax money. It is funded by a licence fee (payable by TV viewers) and the profit it makes on its commercial activities. The difference between a tax and a licence fee is that the former is mandatory, the latter is not.

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The BBC has no profit incentive.
They have as much incentive to make a profit as any business. The difference is that the profit is not distributed to share-holders, but is used to finance its public service broadcasting obligations.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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A common misconception. In fact, the BBC does not receive any tax money. It is funded by a licence fee (payable by TV viewers) and the profit it makes on its commercial activities. The difference between a tax and a licence fee is that the former is mandatory, the latter is not.
The license fee is a tax on everyone who has a TV. We're getting into semantics, here.

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Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
They have as much incentive to make a profit as any business. The difference is that the profit is not distributed to share-holders, but is used to finance its public service broadcasting obligations.
Again, I'm going to have to disagree with you here. If the BBC did have the same profit motive, then they would have 20+ episodes in a season (like US networks) instead of 6, 8, or 10.

BTW, that's one thing I love about your tv shows. There are shows being made in the UK that would never have been made in the US. Jekyll had only 6 episodes. Life on Mars stopped at (I think) 16.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
BTW, that's one thing I love about your tv shows. There are shows being made in the UK that would never have been made in the US. Jekyll had only 6 episodes. Life on Mars stopped at (I think) 16.
BBC programme scheduling is arranged around 4 "seasons" a year (basically corresponding to the geographical seasons), so a "full season" show is generally 13 episodes; a half-season show is 6 or 7.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:11 PM   #8
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The license fee is a tax on everyone who has a TV. We're getting into semantics, here.
Oh, come on. That's like saying a bus fare is a tax on everyone who rides by bus.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:10 PM   #9
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Oh, come on. That's like saying a bus fare is a tax on everyone who rides by bus.
I think a distinction is that people pay a bus fare when they use a bus; people are obliged to pay for the BBC whether they use it or not.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:31 PM   #10
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I think a distinction is that people pay a bus fare when they use a bus; people are obliged to pay for the BBC whether they use it or not.
Unless the licensing laws have been updated in the last year or two (It's not something I really follow) the following should still be accurate.

You can own a TV without paying for a TV license so long as you do not watch any TV stations via it. If you only play video games, watch videos or dvd's on it then you do not need a license.

If you watch any TV stations however (even if you do so via a computer rather than TV) then you need a license.

I do know someone who has had a TV for many years now and has not once paid for a TV license. They spoke to the people who do the licensing and were assured they did not require a license for the purposes of only watching videos and gaming and to date have never had an issue with that.

Unless something has changed in the last 2 years, you also do not need a tv license to watch on-demand programming. Which does (or did) include iPlayer. That's a loophole likely to be closed however (assuming it hasn't already).

I do understand your comparison though. Even if you never watch any of the BBC services and only watch commercial stations you still need a license and that's one of the things that has caused issues several times, even more so now we have services like Sky. In a way it is like a tax as you're having to pay for services you may not want nor consume.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:07 PM   #11
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It's worse in a way, as I suspect in the case of BBC3 we are paying for a service that nobody really wants.

6 Music now... oh, but that's a whole other discussion.

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Old 03-30-2010, 05:35 PM   #12
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Having lived elsewhere, I'm happy to pay the license fee and have the BBC. I can't see any other way that BBC4, for example, would exist, and I'm glad it does.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:11 AM   #13
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I think a distinction is that people pay a bus fare when they use a bus; people are obliged to pay for the BBC whether they use it or not.
No, that's not true. If you don't own a TV, or if you only use it to watch videos, play games, hook it up to a computer, or use it as a door-stop, you don't need a licence.

Also, you don't need a licence to watch TV other than "over the air". A growing number of people choose to watch TV by other means, mainly via the internet. Those people don't need a licence.

Anyway, my main point was that the BBC is not "tax funded". There's a common misconception that it gets it funding from the government, and is therefore somehow influenced by government policy. It was that point that I was refuting, rather than the issue of who is or is not obliged to buy a licence.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:41 AM   #14
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No, that's not true. If you don't own a TV, or if you only use it to watch videos, play games, hook it up to a computer, or use it as a door-stop, you don't need a licence.
See JoeD's post.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:51 AM   #15
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Also, you don't need a licence to watch TV other than "over the air". A growing number of people choose to watch TV by other means, mainly via the internet. Those people don't need a licence.
I believe that you do need a TV licence if you use the BBC's live streaming services (eg of the BBC News Channel), or if you download TV programmes from the BBC iPlayer. That's why these services are restricted to people in the UK, whereas radio programmes (for which no licence is needed) are available world-wide.
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