Reflecting online buzz around BBC programmes: update
Last June I wrote a post on this blog about Shownar - a prototype which aimed to track and reflect online buzz around BBC TV and radio programmes. I stated that "If the prototype proves successful, we are hoping to integrate the functionality of Shownar into bbc.co.uk".
Well, the prototype did prove successful and whilst it's taken a little longer than I'd originally hoped, I'm pleased to announce that buzz modules will soon be rolling out on BBC programme pages.
So, first things first, What is buzz?
Buzz is what people are saying about a programme. In this release, working with Nielsen Online as a data supplier, we're linking back to blogs which discuss BBC programmes. We're also linking to the relevant twitter hashtags, forums and other online communities where the programme is discussed, and bringing all of these useful links to the programmes page.
Why is the BBC looking to reflect what people are saying about its programmes on its website? To quote from our About buzz pages; we believe "programmes are improved by connecting them to the wider discussion and their audience. We want to help you discover and get involved with the conversations other people are having about your favourite programmes on the web". It also supports the ambition laid out in Putting Quality First of "turning the site into a window on the web by providing at least one external link on every page and doubling monthly 'click-throughs' to external sites".
The details of how it works, including how links are found, moderated, linked to and then highlighted if they're relevant, are all explained in an extensive FAQs section.
We won't link to blog posts which are offensive, unlawful, spam or behind a paywall, and you can read the guidelines for a more comprehensive description of how we decide what to include. It's also worth noting that, while we're providing links to buzz for many TV and radio programmes, the project doesn't include every single programme we broadcast. We'll be reviewing what works in the next few months and using your feedback when taking choices about what should be included in later versions.
To give some concrete example of the sorts of conversations buzz pages will help you discover, have a look at the buzz page for Sherlock, which links to a wonderful spread of discussion about the popular BBC One drama, with the most relevant links helpfully highlighted in yellow. Or check out the buzz page for The Proms, which reveals that the Doctor Who Proms are currently generating the most buzz.
The buzz modules, which showcase the most relevant discussion (as well as linking through to dedicated pages for 'all buzz'), will go live on programme pages in the next few weeks. Below is a screengrab of how the module will look. In advance of the buzz modules going live, you can already get to buzz pages by adding /buzz to the end of any programme page URL (e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tffgy/buzz).
We're keen to evolve and improve how we reflect buzz around BBC programmes and fold the thinking into the development of the future TV & iPlayer and Radio & Music propositions referenced by Erik Huggers in his recent blog post on what Putting Quality First means for BBC Online, so please do contact us with any questions/suggestions or leave a comment below.
One element of Shownar which is missing from the current implementation of buzz on bbc.co.uk, is a chart showing which programmes are generating proportionally the most buzz - we'd be interested to hear if this is a feature you'd like to see reinstated.
It's been a real team effort to get this live, so thanks to Kat Sommers, Andrew Barron, Roo Reynolds, Rowan Kerek Robertson, Gary Andrews, Amy Shearing, Bruce James, Andy Shearer, Tom Robinson, Matthew Verrill, Cathal Coughlan, Jeremy Tarling, Ciaran Withington, Yuri Kang, Nancy Hoskins and BERG.
Dan Taylor is Senior Portfolio Executive, Internet, BBC Vision Multiplatform