BBC denies bias towards the iPhone, we take issue

bbc-alert-150x122Windows Phone users will well know the saga involved in getting BBC iPlayer to support Windows Phone, and that the resulting app is about as half-assed as one can get.

We can therefore be forgiven for feeling the BBC is not exactly friends of our platform.

It seems however even Android users, who are the majority of customers in UK, are feeling unloved by the the public service company.

In 2011 the BBC Trust received a complaint accusing them of favouring iOS over Android by adding a number of iPlayer features to the iPhone version before adding it to the Android app, including features such as making programs available for offline use, and that updates would come to the iOS version well before coming to Android.

The BBC has denied the accusation, making the usual excuses about fragmentation (4000 phones from 600 companies) and increased engagement on the iOS platform, saying:

“[The iOS app caters to] a demographic that was more likely, both in percentage terms and absolute numbers, to use BBC on-demand services. While the BBC must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that viewers can access its on-demand content in a range of convenient and cost-effective ways, this did not necessarily mean that it would always be expected to launch new features on different platforms simultaneously.”

While denying the accusation, the BBC Trust also promised to ‘monitor progress’ on the app releases, and requesting that the BBC continue to keep updating the Android version of iPlayer regularly, and to ensure download support for programs were delivered to Android in 2013 ( a year after its 2012 debut on iOS).

The response however made no reference to other platforms, but did note than the company had an obligation to:

  • I. Enable convenient access to the full range of recently transmitted BBC linear content, [regardless of] platform or device (clause 12)
  • II. Ensure that audiences have a high-quality experience (clause 16(f))
  • III. Demonstrate value for money for licence fee payers (clause 17)
  • IV. Operate on FRND terms (clause 19)

Windows Phone is a mobile platform which only has limited access to BBC’s services, has a pretty poor quality experience, is not delivering value for money for UK Windows Phone users, despite us being forced to pay the license fees, and is being discriminated against for being a minority platform.

Given that I think it is clear the BBC has failed Windows Phone users on most of those grounds, and that the only real excuse would be that Windows Phone does not have the reach of the other platforms (a rapidly changing situation) I think it is more than fair that we launch our own complaint, which can be easily done here.

By only serving large platforms the BBC is failing its public service charter.  Given that I am forced to pay BBC should be forced to serve my platform, which has at least a million users in the country.

Do our readers agree? Let us know below.

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