Links: BBC Sport app on Android and Encrypted Media Extension

Friday 1 March 2013, 14:59

Eliza Kessler Eliza Kessler Content Producer

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Hi everyone, here’s another round-up of some stories about BBC Online over the last fortnight.

The launch of the BBC Sport app on Android was widely reported last week as The Next Web observed:

The broadcaster is not without competition though as UK radio station TalkSport recently launched its apps for Android and iOS for English Premier League radio coverage outside of mainland Europe. It will be interesting to see how BBC Sport’s apps perform when they are all available to a global audience. With tech as a facilitator, the language of sport is bound to travel far and wide.”


multi-device-1024.jpg BBC Sport iPlayer app on Android

While just a few days later it was announced the app hit one million download requests.*

The new update to the BBC iPlayer iOS app was also extensively covered and as Pocket-lint reports:

One commenter has also pointed out that the improved Airplay mode no longer starts a show from the beginning if you pause and go to another app.”

Two weeks ago the BBC published its view on the Encrypted Media Extensions Proposal on the World Wide Web Consortium’s mailing list. You can read it in full here.

It provoked negative reactions from Computer World UK and Cory Doctorow.

Hacker News Forum hosted a discussion on the arguments for and against the BBC’s position.

Martin Belham wrote a blog post at the weekend on ‘What do the Pollard transcripts tell us about the BBC, Jimmy Saville, and comment moderation?’ Martin claims the transcripts “give an interesting insight into what senior BBC management understand their comment moderation policies to be” and goes on to say:

What strikes me from the rest of this section of the transcript is the extent to which senior BBC management is vague about the process of inviting user comment, and entirely divorced from reading it.”


Paul Clayton from RNIB, the Royal National Institute of Blind People reviewed the accessibility of BBC iPlayer concluding that “The BBC iPlayer website has a really easy layout and this makes it possible to find most things quickly using a screen reader […] the fact that the BBC iPlayer online service offers audio described content makes it stand out from most of the other services."

However he also noted that “It is not possible to download audio described content or to stream such content as it is being broadcasted […] Furthermore, the delay in putting up programmes with audio description is another problem, given the fact that the same programmes without this feature are put up almost immediately after they have been aired.”

Last week BBC Connected Studio simultaneously held their Knowledge and Learning Creative Studio in Glasgow, Salford and Cardiff.

As attendee Matt Edgar blogged:

I found myself in a team that wanted to put a “local lens” on the wealth of learning material that the BBC has amassed over the years. I’m always surprised and humbled when I get the chance to explore early stage ideas with potential users, so the 15 minute audience we had with three regular BBC users was a particular highlight for me.”

You can check out the BBC Internet live blog of the event which collates tweets, picture and even videos from the attendees across the three locations.

pitching-1024.jpg The Connected Studio live blog

Finally, communications agency Rule 5 blogged about their trip to Salford yesterday for the RTS BBC Future Media showcase.

As a comms agency, we were there to glean an insight into how we might utilise developments in our constantly evolving outreach strategies, but it’s not that clear cut. How do you keep up with the Meta Data technology that created ‘Perceptive Media’ – adapting the viewing experience in line with your social cues to ensure that broadcasts are tailor-made to each individual?"

rts-1024.jpg The RTS - BBC Future Media Event in Salford

That’s all folks, have a great weekend wherever you are.

Eliza Kessler is the content producer on the BBC Internet blog.

*Correction: This blog post originally stated the BBC Sport iOS app attained one million downloads, it was infact the iOS and Android versions combined. This has now been updated.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    What is it with this obsession with DRM and content protection that is fixating the movie and TV industries. The music industry seems to have learned its lesson and now distributes music largely unencumbered by restrictive measures, and, lo and behold, legitimate music downloads have become "mainstream":-

    So, why can't the TV and movie industries learn the same lesson? Its really very simple. If you encumber content so that it cannot be played on the customer's (or licence payer's) device of choice they CAN and WILL turn to other sources.

    In other words, DRM and copy protection are job creation schemes for "professional" pirates. If I can't copy my DRM encumbered digital movie to my device, there WILL be someone who CAN and WILL provide a compatible copy.

    And (this is the important bit) If I have to make an "illegal" download to watch the stuff I have either bought or paid for via the TV licence, why bother to pay in the first place? Call me a "pirate", I may as well behave like a pirate!

    DRM and copy protection are FAILED concepts! They do not deter "piracy", they actually encourage it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    @1 The BBC seemed to explain quite well some of the reasons for needing DRM. TV costs money to make and for everyone to be paid and profit to be made these costs need to be recovered from sales. The evidence presented would seem to imply we would need to pay more if we wanted DRM free video. Ae you saying these reasons are not valid?

    DRM is not a failed concept although there are plenty of bad implementations of DRM that give it a bad name. I agree that bad DRM and poor pricing decisions can/do encourage piracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    @2 DBOne

    Where is the evidence that drm-free content would cost more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    @3 The BBC currently pay producers of music etc for limited rights - it is highly unlikely that the price being paid would be the same if the BBC could use the music or other content with more open rights. A large portion of the BBC's income is fixed via the license fee and a large proportion of the remainder via the resale rights on the TV programmes the BBC make so I think it unlikely either of these would increase if DRM was removed.

    Good DRM such as that used by Netflix (Film) or Steam (Gaming) has shown that if the DRM is transparent, the service as easy or easier to use than pirate sites and the cost competitive then a large proportion of users will use it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    @4 DBOne

    That is not evidence, that is supposition. I ask again, where is the EVIDENCE that drm free content would cost more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    @5 And your evidence that it wouldn't? I take it you believe that the BBC aren't telling the truth?

    If you owned a unique piece of audio, video or a photo that a media organisation wanted to use and commercially benefit from are you saying you would allow them to use it in any context for a fixed fee regardless of the protection they put around your asset?

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    @6 DBOne:-

    My evidence is how the music industry has progressed beyond DRM without increasing the price of uncrippled music AND making a decent profit from it.

    I do not believe the BBC is lying (where did I ever say that?) I believe they are deluded in their reasoning.

    To use supposition (your preferred method), it is much cheaper to produce and distribute non DRM content because no special licencing, software or encoding is needed. A single file type can support all devices. So you have cheaper production and a bigger customer base. So non DRM content should be cheaper, not more expensive. And give someone legitimate, high quality, non-DRM content at a reasonable price and they will buy that instead of using "knock-off Nigel".

    Stick with DRM and you keep Nigel in business.


  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    @DBone - you say the DRM on Netflix is 'good'. Can you point to a film available on Netflix that is not also available on the Pirate Bay? If not, then the DRM in no good.

    It's not enough that it be 'transparent', it must also be effective, otherwise it's pointless. In the particular case of television there is no DRM system that can effectively 'protect' material that has been broadcast free-to-air, whether here by the BBC, or in the US, so any costs at all in money or usability are simply a waste.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    @7 The whole point about the Encrypted Media Extensions Proposal is that recommending that a standard for DRM be established for exactly the reason you state - delivery to all devices supporting that standard. Do that well and most consumers will not care whether the file they have has DRM or not. Netflix demonstrates this very well - all their content is DRMd but is easily accessible from many devices and the price they charge is good.

    The cost of licensing DRM has to be balanced against the cost of piracy - just because the music industry can balance this equation it does not follow that movie, TV or publishing industries can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    @8 _Ewan_:-

    Another way of looking at it is "Point to a film that is available on Netflix that can be watched on Linux, or a film on LoveFilm that can be watched on Android?

    The films are available, the devices are more than capable of playing them, but because of DRM they can't be watched legitimately. That leaves "pirate" sources.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    @8 Just because a film exists on the Pirate Bay it does not mean that Netflix has failed or DRM is no good. The fact that a film has been pirated just means no protection schema is perfect. DRM is a deterent just as locking your front door and closing the windows when you leave the house is - it doesn't stop every burglar but it helps and most peope do it.

    TV is transmitted in the clear and you can make recording for personal use. If you distribute your personal copy however you are breaking the law. It is also against the law in the UK to remove technical protection measures from DVDs or other DRM protected media.

    If people wish to break the law then let them but they should expect some consequences of the actions they choose to take.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I suspect that DBOne has vested interests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    @10 Just because a device is capable does that mean a commercial organisation has to support it? The proposal for a standard for web based DRM for HTML is to address this very issues whilst retaining the rights of the producer of the content to protect it from being copied.

    As a creator of a film, TV programme or piece of software should I not have the right to protect it but also wish for it to be delivered to as many devices as possible legally using a standard form of DRM.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    @12 You suspect wrong, I do not. Why would you think that I do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Because it's hard to see any other reason for your arguments. DRM does have to be perfect, otherwise it's useless. No-one cares that you cannot rip some DRM encumbered media so long as someone, somewhere has done it once - that's enough. Once it's available on 'pirate' sources, an unlimited number of people can download it - obviously, DRM on a piece of media does nothing to discourage or prevent someone getting a non-DRMed version elsewhere; it's no 'deterrent' at all.

    Eponymous Cowherd's key point is that you defend against people using 'pirate' sources by making sure all those people don't want to bother, and DRM has exactly the opposite effect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    @15 No, some people will always bother with piracy as they don't or won't pay the money a legal source will charge - this is the case whether DRM is used or not, others see DRM removal as a challenge and do it because they can. Yes these activities would end if media were distributed without DRM but this isn't justification for removing DRM.

    It is a conscious decision to remove DRM or access pirated copies of films/tv etc and the deterrent should be that it is breaking the law. Just because its possible to generate a DRM free copy or for a distributer of media to provide a copy that works on all devices does not mean that they should or have to.

    A major driver for pirated copies is about people not wanting to pay anything for the product being produced and for this group, removal of DRM would do nothing other than make it even easier for them to access media without paying.

    It is not true that pirated copies only exist because people want to access media on their unsupported devices. How many people downloading an illegal copy of a TV programme are doing so within the 7 days of broadcast and are deleting it after 30 days as iPlayer desktop does? I would suggest most are doing it to have a copy sitting on their harddrive forever, the same with movies - how many will go out and buy a DVD/Blueray and download a pirated copy for their tablet?

    Just because a pirated version exists doesn't make it legal to download or view it. Is breaking the law no longer a deterent? Is it really right to think that it is OK to use a pirated source of a film because we want to watch it on a device or in a location where it is not legally available?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    You're very much missing the point - are you quite sure you're not doing it on purpose?

    You've outlined a whole bunch of stuff that's completely irrelevant - no matter what you, I, or anyone else thinks about those questions the simple fact remains - the DRM doesn't help.

    With DRM, making copyright infringing copies of things is both easy, and unlawful. Without DRM, making copyright infringing copies of things is both easy, and unlawful. it contributes nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @17 _Ewan_

    ***"With DRM, making copyright infringing copies of things is both easy, and unlawful. Without DRM, making copyright infringing copies of things is both easy, and unlawful. it contributes nothing."***

    Nicely put, but, IMHO, while there are, and always will be, ways of circumventing DRM and copy protection, it can be very difficult for laymen to do so. If John Doe buys a non-DRM copy of a movie he may make a copy to watch on his tablet, maybe he will give a copy to a friend. OK, a bit of naughtiness, but still a sale.

    Put DRM on it and John Doe is quite likely to go straight to the torrents and not pay AT ALL!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    To look at it another way. DRM makes no difference to the rates of infringement, it just allows the real criminals to profit by it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    @17-19 So DRM is a waste of time and media companies should give up trying to protect their content and just hope that people will pay for their content rather than accessing it illegally. Sounds like a great business model - maybe the gaming and software industries should also follow it as well.


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