It's now just over two years since the BBC announced a renewed focus on partnerships
. This resulted in some healthy scepticism both inside and outside the BBC - would any of it ever happen? Won't the BBC move on to some other novel initiative when the political climate is right? Well, I'm pleased to say that we and our partners have managed to follow our fine words through with some concrete actions - just in the last couple of months we've seen the launch of Radioplayer
and iPlayer Linking
Making partnerships work is a challenge for all organisations - and the size of the BBC and the regulatory constraints we have to work within add to the complexity of working with us. However, the good news is we are learning.
iPlayer Linking is an example of this - it's a product with many of the same benefits as the original 'Open iPlayer'
proposal but not as many of the complexities. It is a really simple idea - a new feature in BBC iPlayer that helps you find programmes from other broadcasters and on-demand content providers.
Through partnerships that allow the sharing of metadata, you can now find programmes from ITV, Channel 4, S4C, Five, SeeSaw.com and MSN Video Player, directly from the BBC iPlayer website. Have a look on the left hand side of the screen in iPlayer
or read more about how it works
Another recent launch, Radioplayer
, is the culmination of a partnership between the BBC and commercial radio to provide easy online radio listening with very simple search and navigation. With founding partners the BBC, Global Radio, GMG Radio, Absolute Radio and RadioCentre, it lives up to its tagline, 'UK radio in one place'. Read more about it
We're not just working on technical partnerships or only with other broadcasters. A History of the World was one of the most exciting partnerships of 2010. Its foundation was a partnership between the BBC and the British Museum, but it extended to involve schools, museums and audiences across the UK. You can still listen to and download all the episodes of the radio series
Something all of these partnerships have in common, as with all the partnerships we're working on, is that they seek to bring benefits to the BBC, our partners and most importantly to our audiences. We'll continue to work away on new and exciting partnerships that support the creative sector and bring more value to licence fee payers.
As we stated in Putting Quality First
, partnership is now the default model for the BBC on almost any new large-scale issue - it's becoming a way of life for us.
We will also keep trying to make the BBC a simpler and better partner (one of the aims of the Delivering Quality First project). You can keep up to date on our progress at the BBC's partnerships page
Adrian Ruth is the BBC Partnerships Programme Director