BBC Three's New Website
I'm writing this from Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, one of thousands of delegates trying to find the way to unlock the incredible opportunity that mobile technologies can offer. For the BBC mobile represents a chance to make our content and services discoverable and accessible on the move and at levels of convenience that our audiences have never experienced before. There are also untapped creative opportunities to use the personal and intimate nature of the medium to try out new ways of delivering content and of using the social, participative and location aware abilities of the devices to experiment with new forms of media.
For some reason though, in BBC Vision, we haven't yet made the progress with mobile that we should do. It's hard to break through the jargon that plagues every session and stand at the MWC to identify the partners and talent that will help us make these kinds of services a reality. Watch this space, though - because we will be doing some interesting stuff later this year in mobile.
However, on the web, today sees the doors open for BBC Three's new website, a key part of the new multiplatform vision for the channel. From this evening, viewers will see the new world that the Vision team has created for the on-air presence too, complete with a fantastic programme line-up. I won't be able to get the simulcasting, being outside the UK but thanks to the progress we've made with iPlayer over the past few months, I will be able to catch up on all the programmes I miss while I'm away.
The website has been designed, developed and editorially shaped by BBC in-house teams and the starting point was to enable BBC Three's audience to easily find out what's on, what they shouldn't miss, and what they can watch here and now, whether live or on demand. Even though we know that BBC Three's audience is highly technically literate, we're trying to focus on getting the basics in place. This means making sure that audiences can find and access the content they are looking for and hopefully also come across something they didn't realise they'd enjoy.
The flash TV Listings should develop into a truly useful functional tool to help people navigate to the information they need. We want to develop this to become more personalised, and it is the start of our strategy in visualising data in more useful and attractive ways. So I'd appreciate your feedback on how you'd like to see it work.
As I mentioned in my previous post about the BBC Three revamp, another of the innovations under the bonnet is the integration of our automated programme support engine. Now, every episode of every programme has a unique web presence [see Sophie Walpole's blog post for more on this]. Obviously, this is quite basic at the moment, but it will grow with some more social elements, such as ratings, and BBC Three's revamp is the first big application of the engine. Ultimately, it will make Three's content more searchable and easily navigable as well as more findable and easier to link to.
This is just the first phase - call it Beta if you like. Keep watching the site and how the rest of the BBC's television portfolio is revamped online, on mobiles and on other platforms.
There will be some extensive audience research going on in this first phase of redevelopment, but we also want to know what you think directly. Jo Twist (BBC Three's Multiplatform Channel Editor) and the team would welcome any thoghts you have about the new site. Please do comment here.
Simon Nelson is Controller, Multi-Platform and Portfolio, BBC Vision.