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BBC's iPad news app tops 1m downloads

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The BBC has racked up one million global downloads for its iPad news application, which has been blocked from release in the UK.

Speaking at the paidContent mobile conference at Columbia University, BBC Worldwide's US senior vice president Miranda Cresswell confirmed that the ad-funded news app has now passed the 1m downloads mark.

The BBC Trust is currently reviewing whether to allow the BBC's proposed BBC News and BBC Sport apps to launch in the UK after receiving objections from the commercial industry.

The BBC had hoped to launch the news app, which would be ad-free in the UK, for Apple's mobile devices in April. The sport app was to follow in May.

However, it was forced to delay both launches while the Trust reviews the business case and market impact of the move.

Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, was allowed in 2007 to start carrying advertising on its digital properties in overseas markets.

In 2009/10, the organisation earned £14.5 million from advertising income, but that was offset by the cost of setting up an ad sales team.

Worldwide's digital division has also incurred the cost of establishing its new US-specific BBC News site, which went live this week.

"In the US, we've tripled our advertising revenue in the last year - and this year I'm expecting to double it again; we're feeling massively positive," said Cresswell.

Earlier in the month, Worldwide reported that profits were up 36.5% year-on-year to £145.2m in the 12 months to March 31, 2010. Overall sales revenue was up 7% year-on-year to £1.074bn.

Revenues at the digital media operation, which includes BBC.com and the mobile apps, grew 9% to £30m, helping the division bring its losses down to £20.8m from £29m in the previous year.

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