Big content producers are going mobile with smartphone apps, and BBC World Service is the latest to join the club through a deal with Stitcher. com, a company that has created a free "Smart Radio" app for mobile devices.
The free app, which can be downloaded at the app stores of three smartphone services -- the iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm Pre -- allows users to listen to BBC audio content streamed on demand. The app also customizes programming in accordance with user preferences.
Users can download BBC podcasts in categories such as global news, digital planet, global arts and entertainment, regional reports like "Africa Today," and sports and talk programs. BBC World Service also plans to provide foreign-language podcasts from its various overseas operations, including Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic and Persian language content.
American publishers and broadcasters have been introducing new smartphone apps at a steady pace over the last year.
Last week, Conde Nast unveiled an app that allows users to read magazines on their iPhones. The app lets them download entire magazines for $2.99 per month, beginning with the November issue of GQ. After an initial testing period, Conde Nast may extend the offering to include other big titles.
Earlier this month, USA Today launched with a travel-related service, AutoPilot, available at the Apple App Store. Sponsored by Hampton Hotels, the free app allows users to stay abreast of flight itineraries and weather, orient themselves with a GPS-enabled location tracker, find and contact travel service providers like rental cars and hotels through a digital directory, and read USA Today's travel-related blogs.
In September, Clear Channel added a daily video-on-demand service to its IHeartRadio app for iPhones, following high download rates for the basic apps among iPhone and BlackBerry users.