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@ PPA: Industry Moves: BBCWW’s Heaf Mulls Lonely Planet Ideas On Way To C4

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During his appearance on stage at the Periodical Publishers Association’s Magazines 2008 conference, Channel 4 announced (see Guardian) it had hired BBC Worldwide digital ventures director Dan Sheaf to work on interactive projects, reporting to both radio head Bob Shennan and new media director Jon Gisby. Heaf has form in music, having worked for Radio 1’s website and, later, the Switch teen brand.

This morning I asked Heaf how last year’s Lonely Planet acquisition might be integrated with other BBCWW properties. He said: “The links between gardening or Top Gear and going on holiday are fairly tenuous. Where there is an area of real synergy is natural history. That’s obviously very linked in to place. If you think of Lonely Planet outside of the holiday sphere and more as a canonical index of place content, then it becomes more useful.” Heaf also sees mobile uses: “People won’t be carrying around the guide book like a bible. There will be 500,000 localisations, as well as personalisation, ad it will know the kind of thing you want”.

Earlier, BBC creative director Alan Yentob tried to allay fears of commercial magazine proprietors. “At what point can you lead someone from the public domain in to the commercial domain on the web?,” he mused. “In order for the BBC to thrive and this resource to spread out to the commercial domain, not just the public domain, this is something we need to work on very hard. Of course I can see why (commercial operators) would be upset (but) to stunt the BBC would be foolish.”