BBC’s expansion is stifling net business say BIPA members

Internet publishers have attacked the BBC’s online expansion, saying that the public broadcaster will squeeze out smaller commercial players and stifle investment in the sector.

Internet publishers have attacked the BBC’s online expansion,

saying that the public broadcaster will squeeze out smaller commercial

players and stifle investment in the sector.



The group, which includes the Electronic Telegraph and LineOne, put

forward their case at a House of Commons hearing.



British Internet Publishers Association (BIPA) members were asked to

give evidence at the culture, media and sport select committee’s enquiry

into BBC funding.



The delegation was led by BIPA co-ordinator Angela Mills, who was joined

by Electronic Telegraph publisher Danny Meadows-Klue and Ajay Chowdhury,

managing director of LineOne - the joint venture between United News &

Media and BT. They called for an urgent review of BBC activities online

by the Office of Fair Trading.



Chowdhury told the hearing that the BBC dominated the UK internet market

in several fields, including news ’where it is four times the size of

the largest player’, children’s learning, motoring and gardening.



Mills said Britain was the only country in the developed world that

thought it needed public money or a state broadcaster to kick-start the

net.



Meadows-Klue asked: ’Is it a proper role for the BBC to expand its

publicly funded brands into e-retailing? ’



BIPA’s comments had been ’very well received,’ continued Meadows-Klue.

’The committee shared our members’ concern that activity on the net is

not only unchecked and potentially damaging to the market, but in need

of review.’