BBC Magazines has confirmed that its current affairs magazine, News Brief, is in the pipeline but is yet to be formally approved — dispelling speculation that the title might launch as early as April.
BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith said in an interview with the Financial Times on Monday that News Brief — known as Project Phoenix — "does look good" financially but that he was yet to be convinced of the business plan.
Smith said the title would comply with the criteria for news services — fitting in with the BBC's public purpose activities, not harming its reputation and keeping in line with fair trade guidelines.
Smith referred to magazines' important role in BBC Worldwide's crossplatform development in the US, using Top Gear as an example.
The BBC has also been working on social networking and community website opportunities for brands such as Top Gear and Good Food. A spokesman said these would be integrated into the existing sites in order to give added value and attraction to regular readers.
No further details on News Brief will be available until the project has been given full commercial approval, the spokesman said.