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BBC boss reveals plans to launch ‘long read’ and investigative platforms

Tim DavieBBC plans to launch two new digital services for ‘long reads’ and investigations have provoked fresh outrage from commercial publishers.

Director general Tim Davie, left, revealed the proposals in a speech to the Royal Television Society today entitled ‘A BBC for the Future.’

In the speech, he reiterated his plan to rceate a new network of 70 multimedia investigative reporters across the corporation’s local bases in England.

The move is part of the controversial expansion of the BBC’s local digital services which has led to sustained criticism from local news publishers.

Mr Davie said: “We will launch two new brands. Firstly a new digital destination that will offer deeper analysis, longer reads and thought-provoking journalism which provide more context beyond rolling news.

“Also, to help audiences navigate our investigative journalism, we will create a BBC investigations brand where people can find all our content in one place.

“To support this, we are currently launching a new network of over 70 multi-media investigative reporters across our local bases in England.

“It’s part of a major strengthening of our local news offer digitally, recruiting an additional 130 journalists and placing local and nations news at the heart of the BBC News app, on the homepage for the first time – which is already driving impressive growth.”

Responding to the speech, News Media Association chief executive Owen Meredith said: “Tim Davie has set out a vision for the BBC that overreaches its remit and its commitments under the Royal Charter and Agreement to not adversely impact competition.

“The public should be in no doubt that this appears to be an aggressive strategy, designed to strengthen the BBC’s hand at the expense of others.

“The BBC has repeatedly sought to reassure commercial news publishers that their presence online does not seek to compete with them– despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

“Today, the director general has gone further, not content with directly competing with local titles through expansionist plans, the BBC now apparently plans to launch two online news brands providing the very content that is core to driving commercial subscription and advertising revenue for publishers, ensuring sustainable business models and investment in independent journalism.

“We urgently need to see the detailed proposals behind Tim Davie’s announcements and expect Ofcom to thoroughly scrutinise them.

“The BBC must be pulled back from its assault on the commercial journalism sector, otherwise the consequences for news provision in this country and further afield will be devastating.”

HTFP has approached the BBC for comment.