MEDIA: BBC throws down the WAP gauntlet

BBC News has created three senior roles to lead its controversial drive to provide services for WAP phones and other new media platforms.

BBC News has created three senior roles to lead its controversial

drive to provide services for WAP phones and other new media

platforms.



Strategy and marketing head for BBC News Richard Deverell has been made

new media head. He will be responsible for development strategy rather

than editorial content. Mike Smartt, formerly executive editor of News

Online, has been made editor in chief of new media. His brief now covers

digital TV and mobile phones as well as the internet. News Online

technical director Matthew Karas has also seen his responsibilities

expand to cover new media, and in particular BBC Interactive News.



The BBC has ruffled feathers at ITN by signing pilot deals with Orange

and Avant Go, which makes news accessible from palm-tops. ITN already

had an agreement with Orange and Avant Go to carry its news services

before the BBC announced its tie up. The BBC also has deals with BT and

Vodafone.



ITN is preparing a formal complaint to telecoms regulator Oftel, because

it claims the corporation is using taxpayers’ money to interfere with

the budding WAP phone services market.



The new appointments underline the BBC’s intention to forge ahead into

the market. Its news site is the most visited content site in Europe,

with 70 million page impressions a month. BBC News chief executive Tony

Hall said: ’We now intend to further develop our on-line and interactive

services to bring BBC News to our audiences whenever, wherever and

however they choose.’



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