South Korean venture raises questions over BBC Magazines

BBC Magazines’ latest business venture will add to the calls for the BBC to sell off the business.

It has licensed its Lonely Planet magazine to a South Korean publisher.  This is the 8th international edition of the magazine.

Its critics will ask:

  • Why should the BBC be licensing such a magazine internationally?
  • Why should the BBC be publishing magazines which are not directly linked to its broadcast programmes?
  • Why is the BBC in magazines at all?

Profits into programmes

The profits from the magazine business are ploughed back into the BBC to support programme making.  But its critics argue that this public corporation is crowding out private magazine owners.  And private magazine owners could as easily publish the likes of Top Gear magazine on a contract basis.

The BBC has:

  • 16 adult magazines;
  • 1 teen magazine; and
  • 5 pre-teen magazines.

All but 3 have their own website. 

No links to BBC programmes

Lonely Planet was a successful private publisher before the BBC took it over in October 2007.  It had been founded in 1972 and the founders kept 25%.

It has no links to BBC broadcasting. 

I can’t see the current government allowing this to go on much longer.

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