Yell.com adds more local content while BBC plans set back
Yell is rolling out a series of ultra-local sub-sites featuring town and city information as part of a move to ramp up content across its website.
The classified listings specialist is hiring journalists to create content, including advice on things to think about when hiring a serviceperson as well as quick facts about towns across the UK.
Yell is also considering including local news and event information, if the trial is successful. It plans to use the content to boost its position as a key destination for local services and information online, as well as its search rankings.
Its push comes in the week that local news services were thrust into the spotlight following the BBC Trust's decision to refuse permission for the BBC's planned rollout of local video sites (nma.co.uk 21 November).
The Trust halted plans to spend £68m of licence fee funds on local video, deeming it unjustified.
The proposed move was highly criticised by competitor commercial news providers, such as Northcliffe Media, which owns 151 sites under the Thisis brand. It said it would be unable to compete with such investment by the BBC.
Johnston Press claimed the BBC's Where I Live sites had already damaged its local sites, and Trinity Mirror accused the Corporation of losing sight of its purpose.
The rejection of the plans by the BBC Trust has received a cautious welcome by commercial rivals, with many concerned the setback won't keep the BBC away from local services for long.
Sam McIlveen, digital publisher at Independent News and Media, said, "I don't think this is the end of it. We're still worried because these plans were hugely disadvantageous for local media. Local sites can't compete with the BBC, especially when it's willing to spend £68m."
The Newspaper Society's director David Newell also expressed concern at the BBC not giving up on the area. "We must be on guard to ensure the BBC isn't allowed to expand its local services by other means," he said.
Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, said that while consumers want better local services, video sites were unlikely to meet their needs.
Regulator Ofcom said the plans would have a significant negative impact on commercial providers.
Author: By Will Cooper & Luan Goldie | Source: nma.co.uk | Published: 26.11.08