15/12/2009

BBC Website To Offer 'Open House'

Newspapers could be facing an online revolution as the BBC is planning to open up its website on www.bbc.co.uk to other news organisation.

The broadcaster's online news section may soon allow its own (free) users to see the major stories covered by the UK newspaper sites.

The development follows a succession of attacks on the scale of the BBC's online operation.

Senior BBC sources have suggested that links to the sites of rival news organisation could exist on the home page of BBC News in order to offer the user the service of a wider selection of sources and a different diet of news.

The BBC already supplies video news content to some British newspaper sites, including those of The Independent, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

However, the BBC's transformation into a method of viewing news from other organisations will be revolutionary and also potentially controversial, given the arguments that other services have faced over the prominence they give to rival news providers, and which sources they choose to ignore.

Samples of the opinions of various newspapers and bloggers and links to their websites have been seen on the BBC Northern Ireland site for years, something that has since been adopted by other BBC regional online editors.

Meanwhile, as more newspapers move into paid internet subscriptions to access their news, there is also an ongoing divergence with Google, whose search engine allows users to circumvent paid for sites, should a user key in (more or less) the exact headline shown as a 'taster' on the pay-to-view newspaper versions.
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This was the subject of debate at a recent international conference when Google gave a robust defence to newspapers complaining about free use - insisting that they forward billions of users daily - hugely boosting potential advertising revenue.

The President of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has said publishers must robustly defend their copyright online.

Gavin O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Belfast Telegraph owners Independent News and Media, was speaking at WAN's congress in India, where he said newspapers had "perhaps foolishly failed to enforce our copyright" online.

But, Google's David Drummond, who also took part in a debate at the WAN congress, said: "We send online news publishers of all types a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion additional visits from Search and other Google services.

"That's about 100,000 business opportunities - to serve ads or offer subscriptions - every minute free of charge."

Two years ago, the BBC, BBC Worldwide and YouTube piloted a partnership to offer Internet users across the world new and innovative ways to experience and enjoy BBC content through YouTube.

This partnership created branded BBC 'Channels' on YouTube operating under separate BBC and BBC Worldwide agreements.

The partnership reflected YouTube's commitment to work with content owners to make compelling video accessible online, and the BBC's commitment to increase reach through the partnership, to bring new audiences to the proposed BBC iPlayer service, and to secure commercial revenue via BBC Worldwide, its commercial subsidiary, to supplement the licence fee.

See: BBC To Increase Audience With YouTube Partnership

(BMcC/KMcA)

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