5 Interesting Stories this Fortnight: regions, reaching, Russians, Red Button, and roaring
Research and Development used a picture of an Elephant (amongst other animal images) to see if young children could navigate a website by choosing pictures by making animal noises. Photo by author.
There are been several interesting stories about reaching people - potential local radio contributors, households with diverse TV connections, smart TV owners who find setting up on-demand too difficult, Russians with bad internet connections, and infants who haven't yet learnt how to use a mouse.
1. English Regions: thou shalt tweet (or at least read them)
On Monday 27th February, the BBC's English Regions (regional TV, local radio, local websites) released their new social media strategy (PDF). Social Media Lead for the English Regions Robin Morley blogged about it at the College of Journalism:
We're not saying that every one of our people must tweet. But they all need to understand how key social media tools work, why they're important, and how to use them in a professional capacity.
Aaron Bradly, an internet marketer in Canada, found the new guidelines compelling:
But what if you're a slouch, Luddite or the journalistic equivalent of a old salty sea dog ("I report news, dammit, not gossip online!)? Check out objective #5:
5. Social media to be a formal element in performance review - especially growth (or otherwise) in engagement stats.
2. BBC iPlayer syndication policy
On Wednesday February 29th, the BBC Trust released a new syndication policy, governing for example how the BBC can offer 7-day programme catch-up to different cable operators. Vice-chair of trust Diane Coyle wrote:
What we now have is a policy which recognises that syndication through the iPlayer – or a future on-demand service – provides benefits for audiences and best serves the principles we have set out. But it includes some flexibility in light of changing technology and audience expectations. In special circumstances where the standard iPlayer is not the best solution, the new policy enables the BBC to enter into special arrangements with syndication partners.
3. The BBC World Service's first app
It took the BBC World Service eighty years and two days to release its first iPhone app. On the other hand, Phil Buckley was quick to blog in his new job, explaining how the new Russan Service iPhone app, released on Friday March 2nd in time for the elections, would be so useful for the audience:
Since last year the service has been internet only and BBC Russian is a full service news site, with 30+ articles a day along with audio and video content, the best of which is now available in the app.
Unlike the website however, the app allows you to browse offline. This should be very useful for anyone with variable internet access; we also know that some of our audience simply prefer using apps to the browser on their phones.
4. Daniel Danker wants to make Connected TV simple
Daniel Danker, the BBC's General Manager for On-Demand, told the Digital Television Group summit that smart TVs were too complicated. He asked why BBC iPlayer got much more traffic from iPads than connected TVs, when in fact UK homes had four times as many connected TVs as iPads.
Media Consultant Graham Lovelace tweeted that:
BBC's Daniel Danker doing gr8 job in explaining poor #connectedTV experience vs iPad #DTGSummit2012
Daniel Danker also suggested that the Red Button is the best interface for IP TVs:
In a connected world, the Red Button can transform into an effortless way to bring what we traditionally think of as Internet services directly to our audience, right on the TV. Users need not even realise that behind the scenes, they’ve switched between broadcast and broadband technologies.
On March 6th, Vicky Spengler wrote on the Research and Development blog about a pilot study for a system that would let children select a link not by touching the screen or moving a mouse but my imitating the noise of the animal in the picture:
We learned that kids interpret the animal sounds quite differently. This has an impact on how the system should be designed to give control to the user to make their own interpretations of sounds, rather than having to learn the ‘correct’ generic sound. ... Finally, the prototype needs to be very convincing for this audience. They will not suspend disbelief and they are curious about how things work.
Ian McDonald is the host of the BBC Internet blog