The remit of BBC Online is to promote the BBC's public purposes by providing innovative and distinctive online content and distinctive propositions that reflect and extend the range of the BBC's broadcast services.
BBC Online should offer UK users greater choice and control over how they consume BBC content by providing a range of recent broadcast output on demand.
BBC Online should enable the BBC to develop a deeper relationship with licence fee payers and strengthen the BBC's public accountability.
BBC Online should, at all times, balance the potential for creating public value against the risk of negative market impact.
Controller's vision for the service in 2010/2011
BBC Online will continue to provide world-class content and services to users in the UK and across the world. For more than a decade, our website has been where all BBC activities have found some kind of expression.
Although parts of the site have been very successful, others have been less so and the site has become more of a collection of separate propositions than a coherent whole. In 2010/2011 we will start to consolidate around a smaller number of compelling offers which will be clearly delineated and whose purpose and aim are clearly apparent. Excellence and distinctiveness will be our watchwords. BBC Online will renew its focus on connectedness, making it simpler, more useful and more coherent. This will facilitate richer, more relevant journeys, allowing users to follow their interests and find out more.
Alongside what the BBC provides, we will guide our users to the best relevant content offered on the wider web. Where we can we will seek to work with partners, opening up BBC Online – both content and technology – to third parties, allowing them to derive benefit from publicly funded activity. We have implemented new BBC Trust-approved processes to ensure that these initiatives succeed in their objective of limiting undue negative market impact.
Our ambitions are part of a wider drive to bring more people in the UK online. With partners inside and outside the BBC we will begin a three-year programme of activities which we hope will significantly reduce the numbers who are not online, helping to bring the benefits of the internet to all.
Seetha Kumar, Controller, BBC Online
Key challenges for BBC Online in 2010/2011
Challenge: As BBC Online becomes more focused, the service will gain a renewed emphasis on the BBC's editorial priorities, which will result in the closure and consolidation of some parts of BBC Online.
Simultaneously, as part of this increased focus, we will apply our distinctiveness criteria more stringently. Our ambition is to make more distinctive, innovative sites across all of BBC Online.
Challenge: We need to reach underserved audiences and work to ensure that everyone is able to, and wants to, access BBC Online.
A key aim is to increase digital access, increasing reach in demographics that have low take-up, such as older and less affluent groups. Encouraging broadband uptake is a significant challenge as there is no single solution and many of those excluded are at different stages of their journey to home adoption.
Overall, we aim to grow total reach share of online audience.
We will develop the media literacy site so that it becomes a useful one-stop shop for users – from initial online access to learning how to participate in the digital world, with tools for audiences whose skills are more advanced.
We will continue development with partners of safety products, to help parents decide which sites and content are appropriate for their children to view.
Challenge: As the web becomes more integrated, social and shared, BBC Online needs to become increasingly open and collaborative to ensure that we remain a key part of the web ecosystem, and operate effectively within the fast-changing online environment.
We will increase both the number of external links and the traffic flowing through them.
We will finalise and implement (subject to necessary approvals), two of the BBC's partnership proposals: - iPlayer partnership – linking from BBC iPlayer to other UK TV providers - Radio player – building a network of online radio sites which includes BBC iPlayer, to create a more coherent online radio experience
We will launch features which allow users to contribute to and comment on our content. Users will be able to make recommendations to their friends on BBC Online or via their chosen social networks.
Challenge: To enable users to access the BBC's archive, covering broadcast audio and video as well as our online heritage. Because of the size of the task, this will be a multi-year challenge, but real progress can be made in 2010/2011.
Continue the work of opening up selected elements of the BBC's archive (subject to the BBC Trust's approval where required).
Develop a system for managing programme information going back 70 years.
Challenge: To refocus the formal learning offering for children and teenagers around the popular Bitesize revision and recap service, offering audiovisual clips linked to the curriculum (subject to approval by the BBC Trust).
We will also start to link from learning pages to other parts of BBC Online which can support children's learning and homework.
Other service highlights
Refresh some key sites
We will refresh a number of significant sites in 2010, including news, sport, comedy, food and CBBC. These will be part of site-wide improvements to the design and shape of BBC Online, intended to deliver a more satisfying and consistent experience to all our users, whichever part of the site they are on.
A more sociable BBC Online
We will deliver a number of initiatives designed to encourage our users to participate more around our content, and to make better connections with other users. Instead of building our own social networking site, we will enable users to integrate their experience of the BBC with their use of existing social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Users who wish to participate in this way will be given a page of their own which aggregates their BBC activities and allows them to make connections with their chosen social networks.
An expanding world of programmes
We will invest in a more integrated experience for users around our programmes, offering clearer choices around listening, viewing and finding out more. For a few key titles we will offer a richer extension of the broadcast experience designed to exploit the distinctive characteristics of the internet. At the same time we will develop better ways of allowing users to find and experience individual segments of programmes when these cover a range of subjects. We will also develop our programmes site to include more programme information from the archive, pointing users where possible to the programmes themselves wherever they can be obtained.
Drama and comedy
We will deliver a small number of highly targeted propositions for the UK that break new ground, develop fresh approaches to storytelling and take creative risks particularly in support of diverse, new talent and new ideas. We will also seek ways to celebrate the rich cultural legacy of the BBC's output in these genres.
Annex-specific service highlights
Audio and music
BBC radio and television play a uniquely wide range of music every year, yet BBC Online does not provide an easy way to explore the world of music. We will develop a music proposition which complements commercial services and is designed to help our users develop and extend their taste in music. We will refresh the network support sites for Radio 1 and Radio 4. The new radio player will help contribute to a more compelling on-demand radio proposition which should benefit all UK radio broadcasters.
BBC iPlayer will offer users the chance to engage more actively with on-demand programmes, recommending them to their friends both on and off BBC Online. We will continue to make the core iPlayer proposition available on a wider range of platforms and devices. iPlayer will also provide users with links to on-demand programmes provided by other UK public service broadcasters.
Knowledge, entertainment and children's
We will learn from the success of the Wildlife Finder, which works with partner sites to offer users information and both new and archive programme content. This approach will be extended to fresh areas of knowledge, including the solar system, to form the basis for a richer and more connected knowledge-building proposition on BBC Online.
We will refresh CBBC to improve our ability to aggregate children's content in different ways, to make it more discoverable, and to publish to different platforms. A redesigned homepage will appeal to a wider range of user moods and needs, while the new identity system will remember where logged-in users have been before and surprise them with new relevant content they have not seen before. The new CBBC will respond to the different uses children make of the site at different times of the day.
Nations and Local
The Nations offer will provide greater editorial focus on delivering fewer, higher quality sites, while offering the depth and excellence in those sites to reflect contemporary life and culture that supports national and local identity in each nation. We will begin a rolling refresh of our Local sites and improve quality through a renewed focus on news, sport, weather and travel – part of our commitment to being no more local in England than we are today.
Both our news and sports sites will be refreshed this year, allowing us to tell more compelling stories, and enabling our users to engage more directly with our content. Our coverage of the World Cup in the summer will be testing out a number of features which will bring alive the event for audiences around the world. Using the real-time and interactive potential of the web we will explore new ways of covering sport and of involving new audiences. These developments will have one eye on the London Olympics – and we will launch a 2012 Olympics site this year as the beginning of our build-up to that event.
Conditions: BBC purposes and BBC Online commitments
Commission at least 25% (by value) of eligible content and services from external suppliers.
Aim to increase the volume of click-throughs to external sites from all parts of the service.