Editor's note: the presentation above is the one Ralph made at the BBC Online industry briefing. You can see more BBC presentations here - SB

The main thing I wanted to talk about today is storytelling and technology, and how we are bringing the two together in concert to make BBC Online better.

I believe that media is simply the intersection of storytelling and technology - whether it's the Gutenberg press, radio or television - technology has enabled more pervasive and immersive storytelling, and it will be that way with the internet.

It's in that spirit that we approach our digital future - not as a software company with content as a feature, but a storyteller with software as an enabler.

New strategy

In January we announced a new strategy for BBC Online. The big picture here is a vision of quality and distinctiveness over quantity, the discipline and simplicity of going from hundreds of websites to 10 products, and the commitment to work with industry to build a sustainable digital public space. All of which will make BBC Online better for audiences.

One service

At the heart of this is looking at BBC Online as one service. It is the gateway to content and experiences across the entirety of the BBC. It provides the connective tissue that enables us to inform, educate and entertain as part of one narrative - not as a disjointed set of activities. We have reorganised the business around this principle. It also sets the boundaries of what we will do, and not do, online.

Ten Products

We will have ten products which are complete unto themselves, and in support of our five editorial priorities. Each are distinctive and clearly-defined, but will evolve to become even more powerful together, as we and our audiences create journeys that run fluidly between them. These will not be silos.

We continue to develop these products. Highlights since January include CBBC, a redesign we dubbed Shed No Tears (more on why from product manager Phil Buckley here). Radio player got off to a great start, BBC iPlayer interlinking went live and BBC News continues to be the place where audiences come for the big news stories, and stay.

Four screens

To date the bulk of our activity has been focused on the PC. We see the emergence of a post-PC world and we are embracing it as an opportunity to reach our audiences on whatever 'piece of glass' they choose to use, with an experience appropriate for each device.

We're making progress. The BBC iPlayer can already be accessed through many different devices, with the growth rate in mobiles, tablets and TVs outstripping that of PCs.

We're experimenting with dual screen companion devices, where what you do on your tablet or phone is related to what you see on your TV, for instance with our Autumnwatch trial.

We have had 6 million downloads of our BBC News application on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets globally. Coupled with the website, the BBC News product is already present globally across three screens. And today, we announced its arrival on a fourth - the TV.

Connected storytelling

Of course, the BBC isn't the only broadcaster thinking four-screen and digital. It's the industry's direction of travel. And if I stopped here, this presentation could have been delivered by anyone at Google, Yahoo! or AOL.

What makes the BBC different, what really sets it apart, is its ability to tell stories. Quality editorial, delivered in a way that people love and trust.

Radio 4, News at Ten, Doctor Who, Desert Island Discs, The Huey Show, Luther - these are not just brands, programmes, or networks but ideas. Ideas that mean something real to people, with stories that are crafted, nurtured and told over time.

It's been that way for 80 years on radio, it's that way now on TV, it's going to be that way on any internet-connected device, and it will be that way hundreds of years from now in the holodeck... (Yes, I am a Trekkie).

The internet is enabling connected storytelling. And by connected, I mean three things:

Audiences - connected to us and each other. Together we can create personalised, interactive and social experiences.

Editorial - the storytelling itself - connected through professional, algorithmic, and social curation. This creates a more complete and immersive experience than is possible from any one source, and;

Devices - connected to one another and working in concert. We can create experiences best suited for the capabilities of whichever of the four screens you happen to be on.

I think this adds up to a far better service for our audiences. And while all aspects are important, it's the BBC's traditional editorial strengths in professional storytelling that will make us truly distinctive.

Partnership

Finally, a word on partnership. The BBC cannot do this alone, and we are looking to our partners to help us realise these plans, whether that's developing better links with the start-ups that are putting the UK on the map as a hub for digital innovation, global deals with social networking sites, improving relationships with independent production companies or partnerships with consumer electronics companies - these partnerships will be the key to transforming BBC Online into the Connected Storyteller we all want it to be.

Ralph Rivera is Director of Future Media at the BBC

Comments

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by brian192

    on 1 Dec 2011 12:03

    You have apparently disregarded your customers (the licence fee payers) in all this nonsense. Deal with the many negative comments about the new BBC home page which will cause many regulars to leave in droves. About time your appointment is investigated by the BBC Trust.

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by marcus1972

    on 1 Dec 2011 10:48

    Hi,

    Please can you review the blogg on the new BBC homepage. It has over 500 negative comments and no one is taking any notice about it.

    Thanks

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by eConundrum

    on 3 Aug 2011 13:12

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 9. Posted by Piet Boon

    on 20 Jun 2011 14:20

    Wow, thanks to the reference you made to the BBC Online workplan. Reading that, I think that all reactions we give on these blogs are useless.

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by Russ

    on 19 Jun 2011 21:59

    Yes, Piet, I'm aware of that. What I mean is I wouldn't want to see radio withdrawn from iPlayer until RadioPlayer is as good technically as the radio player in iPlayer; specifically, the granularity of the programme slider in RadioPlayer is bad compared to iPlayer, the RadioPlayer slider contains no time indication like iPlayer does, and the 'my stations' functionality is still very arcane. Also, I wouldn't want to see station schedules, A-Z listings and categories disappear from the radio area, unless it's planned to integrate those functions in the new 'Radio+Music product', and those functions have been satisfactorily proved to work in that product. Since there has been no indication about what the new Radio+Music product might be or look like, I'm concerned that the BBC will do its usual trick of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Russ

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by Piet Boon

    on 19 Jun 2011 20:20

    @Russ: Radio moves to the RadioPlayer (it already has)

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  • Comment number 6. Posted by Russ

    on 19 Jun 2011 10:34

    Ok, I've discovered what the ten products now are (from the BBC Online workplan).

    I think my biggest concern is the planned disconnection of Radio from iPlayer, the latter being promoted as a wholly TV scenario.

    Russ

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by Russ

    on 18 Jun 2011 09:50

    I think I must have missed a meeting. Are the ten products announced above related to the five products announced previously, or has the Eric Huggers' template now been ditched?

    Russ

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  • Comment number 4. Posted by Lorenzo Martinez

    on 17 Jun 2011 17:24

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 3. Posted by Piet Boon

    on 17 Jun 2011 11:50

    Dear Ralph,

    I think it is important to link content together, to serve your audience better. But, as I told you before, do not throw away the backbone we have now. We, the audience, need our landing pages. We need to have simple places we can visit. Do not make us wandering through a forrest of connected material without the right landing pages.

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