News: BBC to overhaul mobile news strategy

BBC News Apps

The BBC has appointed James Harding, the former Times editor, to revamp its news, mobile and online offerings in an overhaul to the division that will suffer cuts of £80 million over the next 6 years.

The organisation has created a new “controller” role for mobile and online content with James Harding at the helm, who will implement so-called “Future of News” plans to save costs.

Harding reportedly gave a presentation to employees this week, and outlined the strategy to organise news, mobile and online, as apparently it “can’t afford to do everything” in light of the necessary cuts.

BBC News James Harding
James Harding.


The plans involve a series of updates which will be gradually rolled out, with an update on the plans expected in a couple of weeks to “discuss leadership and priorities”. Harding says that the delayed announcements are necessary because more details and work are needed, in addition to the fact that “we don’t want our strategy to be interpreted – or misinterpreted – in the context of the government’s work on the forthcoming white paper; if we’re setting out how we’re going to make savings in news, we want to do that in context of savings across the whole of the BBC”.

He also added recently that “At the second stage, in July, we are due to go back with more details on options and offer costed recommendations for decision”.

It’s not surprising there will be much more emphasis on mobile in general: “If we want to reach younger people, people on lower incomes, women and black, Asian, minority ethnic communities under-served by the BBC, then we are going to have to do more to use new technologies to do so. Chief among them, mobile”.

It comes as no surprise the BBC is planning a significant revamp, as mobile devices have become the primary means to consume news content for many people.

As more of us get our news online or via apps such as Apple News, the BBC will be hoping to maintain its reputation is one of the world’s most highly-regarded news outlets.

Let’s hope Harding’s plan has a positive effect on the BBC’s news services and continues to provide great digital content on all our devices.

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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