Wednesday 12 December 2012, 12:00
I'm Matt Humphreys and I work in the TV & iPlayer editorial team. Part of my role is to work with the TV channel teams and programme makers in BBC Vision to develop curated offerings of our programmes and additional online content.
Today marks the next phase in the development of the TV site across web, mobile and tablet following the re-launch of our TV channel sites earlier in the year.
The TV homepage is regularly accessed by in excess of 800,000 browsers on a weekly basis and offers routes into online TV content beyond the core catch-up service on BBC iPlayer, showcasing exclusive short form video, archive programmes and blogs.
As with our channel sites, the new pages that make up the TV site are responsively designed, delivering a consistent experience across the different screens, including the live streams of all our broadcast TV channels.
The carousel released in the channel pages has been modified and implemented on the TV homepage which, along with the new navigation bar, pulls the sites together into a unified TV experience that complements our iPlayer offering.
Working alongside the TV & iPlayer product team our aim was to put live viewing at the heart of the TV site whilst continuing to enable programme discovery via schedules, aggregations and curated promotions.
In addition the launch offered an opportunity to bring short form video content to the fore, which audiences are increasingly accessing across BBC Online.
When the TV site was last re-launched in 2008 live streams of BBC One and BBC Two were still in the pipeline. Today, live usage accounts for more than one in eight requests in iPlayer, much of which is driven by event and live programming.
The live channel streams are front and centre on the new homepage and point directly to the simulcast pages. The live streams for BBC One and Two are fixed at the top of the On Now section with CBBC and CBeebies featured during the day before they are replaced by BBC Three and BBC Four at 7pm.
The video player for the live streams now offers improved features which build on iPlayer's Live Restart functionality and the segmentation of live video streams that proved so popular on BBC Sport's Olympics coverage.
If you've missed the start of the programme then the Live Restart option allows you to jump to the start (up to two hours after it has begun) or you can now jump to the start of other programmes easily via the new programme points along the bottom of the player.
Almost 30% of visitors to the simulcast pages in November 2012 used the Live Restart feature and the addition of programme points offers a quick route into programme catch up for audiences.
For audiences browsing or looking for specific programme content the TV Guide has been recently updated to enable easier navigation across the schedule and is now linked to prominently from the main navigation bar on all the TV and channel pages.
The new calendar navigation makes moving back and forth across the schedule easier. If you're after a list view of a specific channel then just click on the channel logo to go to today's full schedule, for example BBC Four.
One of the key changes we made from the previous TV homepage was to remove the On Next information that was located in the EPG style strip at the top of the page.
User testing carried out in the last 12 months showed that people looking for schedule information were focused primarily on planning viewing for that evening. This has been prioritised in the On Tonight section of the new homepage which pulls out programmes from the peak schedules of the four main channels.
Schedules for BBC One and BBC Two currently default to London and England variations and our priority for the next phase of the TV site's development will be to integrate regional preferences seamlessly into the TV and channel pages.
Regional schedules can be accessed through the TV Guide via the location selector at the foot of the page and also through the individual schedule views for BBC One and BBC Two, but we will be implementing improvements in future versions of the site to enable the following;
- Remember your location setting on the TV Guide.
- Default the TV channel pages to display schedules based on your regional setting.
- Welsh and Gaelic language options.
Beyond what's on right now and what's on tonight another of our objectives was to surface more of our preview content, primarily in the form of video clips and trails.
Requests for short form video, predominantly in the form of extracts from our TV programmes, generate approximately 1.4 million requests a week and are growing at a healthy rate.
We already curate some of these as preview clips or 'best moments' (post broadcast) on the channel pages but we have dedicated space on the new TV homepage to highlight some our most anticipated programmes and better expose the breadth of upcoming content from across the schedule.
We'll be delving into the feedback we get via our site surveys over the coming weeks but of course we look forward to hearing your immediate reactions to the new site in the comments below.
Matt Humphreys is Editorial Lead for Channels & Programmes.
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