BBC News launched another news delivery service this week in the form of a desktop news alert service, developed by UK technology firm Skinkers Communications.

Launched on 20 April, the free service enables PC users to receive breaking news updates on their computer desktop throughout the day.

BBC desktop news alert, launched 20 April

BBC News already offers news updates through email, an XML feed and a desktop news ticker, but the developers claim the alert service is a much more effective way to drive readers back to the site.

"With applications like the news ticker, for example, it's a bit like banner ads on a website - you just don't see them after a while," said David Long, managing director of Skinkers.

"The news alert service appears in front of other applications, as the news breaks."

A desktop icon informs users of breaking news through a branded message window that provides a headline and summary. Users can click on the window to link through to the full story.

"Our clients have reported a 30 per cent click-through rate, so this is a very effective tool for getting people back to your website," Mr Long told dotJournalism.

The alert service will also deliver reminders for related radio and TV programmes such as Panorama and Money Box.

Skinkers' other clients include Channel 4, Disney and BSkyB. Sky News uses a similar, commercialised version of the alert service to deliver news and sports updates to its web users. Crucially, the broadcaster can also advertise through the service and has reported a 245 per cent return on its investment.

Skinkers is currently talking to several news organisations around the work, including News International in Australia, and also plans to roll out a Mac version of the software soon.

News alert service free download:

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