Mockup of the Facebook app during play, showing the social enhancement of the video

I'm Aaron Scullion, Executive Product Manager at BBC Future Media. I'm currently working on sport and the Olympics at the BBC, and recently blogged about the new BBC Sport app for connected TVs that we launched in April. I'd like to tell you about another way we're making it possible for you to watch live video from BBC Sport.

Today, we have launched a new BBC Sport Facebook app - the details are in the press release. During the Olympics this will enable users in the UK to watch up to 24 streams of live Olympics video the BBC is broadcasting (plus BBC One, Two and Three) - directly within Facebook.

Right now, we're running the service as a beta, featuring all our live video from Wimbledon - up to six live streams, plus BBC One and Two.

As you can see from the screenshot above, the app is a BBC Sport service, but is entirely delivered within Facebook.

This means that we can use the social functionality Facebook offers to enhance the experience.

For example, when you watch a match in Facebook, you can see how many people - and how many people you're friends with on Facebook - are watching that same event.

As well as that, the fact that you're watching the match is shared with your friends, via an update in their Facebook news feed. (You can easily remove each update with a single click if you don't want to share at a particular time).

You can also see which matches are proving most popular on Facebook, and switch to a different video stream on that basis.

We want as many licence fee payers as possible to have access to the full Olympics live video offering, and our Facebook app will offer this to viewers who may not regularly visit the BBC Sport website. As previously announced, during the Games the BBC will offer audiences more choice than ever before with up to 24 Olympic streams on cable, satellite, online and connected TV. Helping viewers find the event they want to watch is key, and our Facebook app offers another way to choose what you want to watch, by showing which events are most popular with the public, and which events your friends are watching.

We will be testing the BBC Sport app during Wimbledon, and updating it with more functionality as we go.

This is the first time the BBC has streamed content in Facebook, and we are excited to offer our audiences a social viewing experience around big sports events.

As ever, the full BBC Sport offering continues to be available at www.bbc.co.uk/sport.

In the near future we'll blog about this app again, with more details on the technical architecture that underpins what we've launched today. I'd be very interested in hearing feedback from anyone who has tried the application in the comments below.

Aaron Scullion is Executive Product Manager, BBC Future Media

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  • Comment number 46. Posted by SoundAdikt

    on 24 Aug 2012 13:05

    Will the BBC Sport App also be available for 2012 Samsung PVR's (7500/7900) in the future? iPlayer is great.

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  • Comment number 45. Posted by Green Soap

    on 13 Jul 2012 19:42

    4.1(g) only says "eg". Not a definitive list of how advertising appears with the BBC Content.

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  • Comment number 44. Posted by DBOne

    on 13 Jul 2012 17:32

    @41/42/43

    I've reread the sections you quote and I'm not sure you are correct.

    4.1(a) States that content must be provided on a similar basis to other content on the service. It doesn't say you shouldn't need to register to access the service just that there shouldn't additional specific registrations to access the BBC content.

    4.1(g) States that there shouldn't be adverts inserted into the video stream or between programmes on the stream. My understanding is that facebook are not doing this.

    Finally, you do not need to register for additional services to access the BBC content. THis clause appears to prevent providers from bundling the BBC content with other products - ie get subscribe to XBox Gold and get BBC content for free. Facebook are not doing this either.

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  • Comment number 43. Posted by Green Soap

    on 13 Jul 2012 15:13

    Thanks Joe, glad it's not just me that has issues with this move.
    An answer would be most welcome, and not the usual waffle that fails to address issues thanks.

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  • Comment number 42. Posted by Joe Adams

    on 13 Jul 2012 13:10

    Thanks SienaPakington,

    as Green Soap points out - you may need to re-read that document.

    4.1 (a) 1. BBC Content should appear in a relevant content
    section, ... and without additional registration.

    I'm not registered on Facebook - and all I get is a "This app is restricted" message. My ISP is Virgin Media in London. So how does the need to register for facebook fit in with this Syndication Guideline?

    4.1 (g) To access BBC Content free of charge, and free from advertising and sponsorship

    There are adverts by the side - again how does this app fit into this guideline?

    4.1 (g) 4. Syndication Partners must not require audiences to
    subscribe to other services in order to access BBC Content

    Again - subscription for facebook is required.

    Will somebody answer these points - or will I have to file a formal complaint to the BBC to get answers? Why not be transparent and answer them here in an open forum?

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  • Comment number 41. Posted by Green Soap

    on 13 Jul 2012 09:42

    Thanks SienaPakington.

    I'd suggest that the BBC should read the (recently updated) guidelines again then.
    Especially section 4.1 (g) To Access BBC Content free of charge, and free from advertising and sponsorship.

    If Facebook adverts re-appear after the IOC block, then I'd suggest that the BBC would be in breach of it's own guidelines by allowing adverts to appear alongside its Content.

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  • Comment number 40. Posted by SienaPakington

    on 13 Jul 2012 08:11

    Hi, I manage partnerships within the technology industry for the BBC. The BBC Sport app for Facebook was built by the BBC and all content is streamed to the end user from our servers via a BBC player within the app. We don’t syndicate individual streams to other parties or websites. As with this app, any apps that we build on 3rd party platforms are in line with the BBC’s Syndication Guidelines which you can find here www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/howwework/policiesandguidelines/syndication.html

  • Comment number 39. Posted by Green Soap

    on 11 Jul 2012 09:00

    So, coming up for nearly 2 weeks since the last post, which didn't address the fundamental problems of 3rd party BBC content hosting, and streaming.

    When will we be treated to a reply to these issues, or will they continue to be ignored, as they are uncomfortable to answer?

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  • Comment number 38. Posted by JunkkMale

    on 8 Jul 2012 14:25

    '37. At 21:25 6th Jul 2012, Green Soap -
    That's the multi-million dollar question that so far, the BBC has refused to answer.
    The choice of currency seems apt, somehow. All rather forewarned here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2012/03/a_new_way_to_access_bbc_news_on_your_mobile.html
    Thoughts invited, and then when not to taste threatened with the norty step and then so treated. Before a closing. It's worth popping over to the Newsnight thread to see how well the move to twitter and FaceBook is working out. No, really.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2012/03/this_blog_is_now_closed_-_foll.html

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by Green Soap

    on 6 Jul 2012 20:25

    That's the multi-million dollar question that so far, the BBC has refused to answer.
    Who can stream BBC content on their own website, and if they can't, why are they favouring Facebook?

    We have been told it's to open up the availability of BBC programmes, by the BBC's own previous statements, so to that effect, any Tom, Dick, or Zuckerberg can stream away.

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