Pressure builds on BBC over Lonely Planet buy

<p>Travel publishers have said that a Select Committee report has piled pressure on BBC Worldwide to review its acquisition of Lonely Planet.</p><p><a href="../news/97812-bbcs-lonely-planet-purchase-egregious-says-commons-committee.html" target="_blank">A report published</a> on Wednesday (23rd September) by the Commons&#39; Culture, Media and Sport Committee branded BBC Worldwide&#39;s purchase of Lonely Planet &quot;the most egregious example&quot; of the company&#39;s expansion beyond its existing remit. The committee added that if the Trust had been &quot;a more responsible oversight body&quot; more thought would have been given to the impact of the purchase on the sector as a whole.</p><p>The acquisition was originally resisted by rival publishers, who called for a review by the Office of Fair Trading at the time. Time Out guides m.d. Peter Fiennes said that this report had really &quot;upped the ante&quot;. He added: &quot;It&#39;s really significant that they have singled out the Lonely Planet acquisition. Before it was just one of a number of things . . . they&#39;ve said it&#39;s quite clearly wrong.&quot; Fiennes said that there is now &quot;so much more pressure&quot; on the Trust to do something about the acquisition.</p><p>Bradt m.d. Donald Greig said he was &quot;pleased&quot; with the committee&#39;s findings. &quot;The obvious scenario is that they should be forced to sell it. But I think that depends on what bigger changes are made with further reform of what Worldwide&#39;s remit is, or the way it is administered or managed.&quot; He added: &quot;They&#39;ve done the damage, they&#39;ve launched the magazine and distorted the marketplace.&quot;</p><p>But GeoCenter sales and marketing director Ian MacDonald added: &quot;I can&#39;t for one minute believe that they will be forced to sell. As far as I&#39;m concerned, it&#39;s a competitive world out there and people make commercial judgments.&quot;</p><p>A statement released by the BBC Trust reiterated that BBC Worldwide &quot;has no access to licence fee funding and operates at arm&#39;s length&quot; from the BBC&#39;s public service. </p><p>The Committee said the Trust&#39;s response to its original report, published in April, was &quot;not coherent&quot; and showed &quot;arrogance&quot; in failing to properly present its case to the government, suggesting the Trust &quot;appeared to believe they had no case to answer&quot;. But the Trust&#39;s statement said it had &quot;responded as fully as [it was] able to at the time of its publication&quot; as it was conducting its own review. </p><p>The Trust added that its completion of the review into Worldwide had been delayed until there was &quot;greater clarity&quot; around the Digital Britain report. </p>