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Updated: Is BBC.com’s India Edition Local Enough?

Update: BBC informs that the India news sub-index will launch slightly later on 21st November, and that it needs a little more development time. Note that the release had mentioned that the India edition along with the Asia and Australia/New Zealand edition was live.

Earlier: BBC.com has announced the launch of an India edition to offer a localised news experience to its readers. According to a statement from BBC, the new edition will provide more in-depth analysis, breaking news and business bulletins for the region, in addition to specially commissioned features and reports.The site will also expand News, Sport and Travel coverage focused on the region, and will offer localised weather reports, increased features from local correspondents and video content. It has also launched localized editions for Australia/New Zealand and Asia.

According to BBC, the editions will be customized to each territory through the use of Geo-IP technology. So the site is supposed to automatically load the Indian edition for users in India. Why not offer a dedicated URL for users outside India who would like to browse India specific news?

Site sections in Tandem with TV Programming: BBC also intends to feature specially commissioned reports, which it says, will be created from a mix of video, text and pictures on the new site in tandem with its TV programming. It will start a series called ‘India Direct’, which will include features on topics such as why Western born Asians are returning home, and another one called ‘The New Middle Class’ which will focus on the Indian middle class and their financial decisions.

  

Not Local enough: At the time of writing this post, the BBC.com edition that we were served offered little customization in terms of news articles and features. It did detect that we were in India and featured TV schedules for BBC’s India service as well as weather reports for Mumbai (we’re located at Delhi). It did offer the India Correspondednt section featuring editorials by BBC’s Delhi Correspondent Soutik Biswas. It also gave us an option to browse BBC’s Hindi, Urdu, Tamil or Bangla site. Perhaps, the complete localised version has not been rolled out yet, although the statement from BBC claims that it’s live.

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In comparison, the BBC Hindi edition is completely customized for India, with updated news reports. It offers a side-bar called ‘Khabrein Abhi Abhi’ (Breaking News) which is updated on an hourly basis. It also features popular topics, videos and audio clips, editorials, reviews and blogs/forums and coverage is infact much more local. We’d like to see the same treatment being given to the Indian edition maybe with a little more focus on International stories that affect the sub-continent.

Why not try the Opinion Blog format: We’d also like to see more opinion based stories on the lines of blogs on current issues that affect India. International publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are already offering Indian editions in a blog format with focus on opinion based articles.

Related:
The New York Times Launches India Ink; Meanwhile, In India Online…

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