Links: BBC News app and iPlayer content

Content Producer

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Hi, it’s been a while since our last roundup of news and conversation about BBC Online and it’s been a busy few weeks.

BBC News have released a new version of their iPhone and iPad app. Steve Herrmann on the BBC Editor’s blog discusses the new layout and faster loading speeds as well as a bug fix based on a “fairly major reworking of the app's code. The good news is that they are now working from a more stable base which can be built on with new features and functionality.”

Significantly the code revision “is something we've already done with our Android app, so we'll now be able to release upgrades simultaneously on both iOS and Android

BBC News on mobile

Microsoft employee Lawrence Gripper has removed his version of the BBC News app for Windows phones and Windows 8 from the Windows Store.

These have been a labor of love for me since the launch of Windows Phone in 2010 and it is with great sadness today that I removed both applications from the store.”

The BBC stated to The Verge:

The BBC has clear terms of use that are designed to enable further distribution of BBC content and services in a way that is fair to all parties, and does not imply authorisation or endorsement by the BBC. These are available at In this case, the terms of use were unfortunately not met, and we have therefore asked for the app to be removed.”

The news of a BBC One commissioned, Peter Kay penned sitcom to be released first on BBC iPlayer generated interest. BBC One controller Danny Cohen commented:

"It is hugely exciting that Peter Kay is coming to BBC One with his new series - even more so with the innovative plan we have to launch the show online."

This is hot on the heels of news that BBC Three has commissioned six original short films to be aired first on iPlayer. BBC head of IPTV and TV online content Victoria Jay commented:

"This ambitious new strand builds on BBC iPlayer as a creative platform to bring original British drama to audiences online, and explores storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration […] Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they choose."

BBC Class Calculator

The death of Baroness Thatcher dominated many social media platforms this week. Jim Manning tracked the positive, negative and neutral tweets related to the BBC Question time hashtag #bbcqt, used during an edition focused on the former prime minister.

The Guardian reported on how the huge demand for archive footage relating to the ‘Iron Lady’ exposed problems with the BBCs new tapeless news room in New Broadcasting House London:

According to one BBC insider, after the death of Thatcher on Monday at one point there were four producers in the bulletins area queuing up to use the one tape machine that had been provided and in Newsnight's area "there are tapes all over the place". One BBC current affairs source said: "We have a multimillion-pound digital archive and we are delivering tapes on the tube"."

While The Guardian also discussed the challenges faced in the Digital world for new BBC Director General Tony Hall:

While TV and radio will remain central to what the BBC offers licence payers, and as such both need proper focus and attention to keep them up to the creative mark, Hall sees digital strategy, set free from control by traditional departmental baronies, as key to the BBC's future standing as the national broadcaster.”

The BBC Class Calculator widget caused lots of buzz last week attracting six million users by last Friday. Audiences created their own versions of the seven class types using some creative photo-shopping skills.

A reminder of Olivier Theroux’s post on the launch of the new BBC Research and Development website:

We should not design and constrain every possible way people could discover our content. That thinking in terms of ‘user journeys’ or linear narratives through our archives would hinder, not help, the discovery. Instead we aimed to make discovery as free-flowing as possible."

While our colleagues at the BBC College of Production have had a busy time hosting a live Q&A with senior UX&D designer Emer McPolin:

College of Production live Q&A

The commercial release of Stagebox was also announced on the blog:

Stagebox is a broadcast production device that attaches to the back of a camera, enabling programme makers to link multiple cameras and move HD content over standard Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

The announcement met with positive feedback from Turquoise Branding:

From a production standpoint this is very exciting because it has the potential to streamline the production workflow immeasurably. […] News broadcasters may now be able to escape the 90’s and take one giant leap into the 21st century.”

That’s all for the moment folks, have a great weekend.

Eliza Kessler is content producer on the BBC Internet blog.

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