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BBC World News plans TV app move

The BBC is looking to launch a BBC World News app for TV in a bid to extend the news functionality it offers on tablets and mobile devices to the big screen, according to BBC World News commercial director, Colin Lawrence.

Speaking at Cable Congress in Brussels, Lawrence said that going down the tech route would give the World News TV channel a “slightly different future than the one we have now,” adding that people want “a degree of control in personalisation and on-demand.”

“I do believe that the linear stream of output will be an important part of what we do in the future and I think that’s true of our competitors. But I think alongside that we’ve got an opportunity to serve more video, text and on-demand bulletins in stories that are going to enrich the overall news experience,” said Lawrence.

“I think the Android functionality in set-top boxes enables people to use a TV screen much in the same way they might a tablet. So bringing those assets together is going to make a richer experience.”

Asked specifically whether BBC World News was developing an IP-powered TV app, Lawrence said: “We are looking at apps all the time and we are close. At the moment the apps work on tablet or mobile. Our challenge is to bring them to the TV as well. Managing live media assets is more complicated than managing something that’s taped and server-based. That does create challenges for us, but they’re not insurmountable.”

In January, the BBC started rolling out a new version of the BBC News app in the UK for Android and iOS devices, allowing users to personalise the app with the news that interests them. Also included in the update was an “enriched ‘live’ experience, letting users not only access the BBC News live channel, but also follow the latest news in the live pages.

Earlier this month, speaking about the corporation’s wider digital plans, BBC director general Tony Hall said the BBC will introduce personalised recommendations on the iPlayer and homepage.“We’ll recommend news and sports stories just for you. We’ll give you your own BBC app, which will remember all your favourite programmes, artists, music, interests, DJs and sports teams. All in one place,” he said.

BBC World News is owned and operated by BBC Global News Ltd, a member of the BBC’s commercial group of companies and is funded by subscription and advertising revenues.

The channel is the BBC’s biggest television service and broadcasts around the world to an estimated weekly weekly audience of 76 million. It is available globally in more than 380 million homes.