Links: BBC iPlayer and Archers messageboard closure

Friday 15 February 2013, 15:12

Eliza Kessler Eliza Kessler Content Producer

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Hi there everyone, two weeks have passed since my last round-up so here is a quick update on the major stories about BBC Online.

The news that 40 hours of BBC content is to be made available on BBC iPlayer before TV broadcast was widely reported this week.

Although the BBC has been experimenting with online only content for a while now, Pond Life and Feed My Funny being the most obvious examples, the information gleaned from the minutes of a BBC Trust meeting in December was leapt upon by some of the press. 
  iplayer-1024.jpg BBC iPlayer

The Telegraph linked the story to the apparent success of the Netflix exclusive House of Cards.

General Manager of BBC On Demand Daniel Danker commented to BBC in house magazine Ariel that:

We are measuring ourselves against the wrong competitors, because actually the companies that are most likely to be disruptive in what we do are Google through YouTube, Amazon through LoveFilm and Netflix.”

Radio Times speculated whether the “Corporation’s new experiment is designed to see whether iPlayer’s contribution to the BBC’s overall viewing figures can be increased with online-only premieres” while Endgadget quietly approved stating that “The BBC, despite its sometimes stuffy image, is revealing that it's just as eager to break with tradition.

archers-1024.jpg The Archers messageboard

The news that the BBC is to close the Archers messageboard was met with outrage by its small but loyal fan base. In a blog post Archers interactive editor Nigel Smith explained that, along with the general BBC move away from message boards in favour of other social media platforms (as explained by Ian Hunter in 2011):

there are around 10,000 regular visitors to the message board, the number of people who contribute actively has dropped below a thousand […] we hope that you continue to contribute to Archers discussions elsewhere online.” However, comments on the blog post were predictably unfavourable:

Glorybal-MUSTARDLAND FOREVER commented:

The only part of the website I have visited regularly is the messageboard. I think I visited the Blog once but have never bothered with any of the other parts as all I needed could be found on the MB. I do not Tweet and will not join Facebook which exist only to make a profit. I am disappointed in the behaviour of the BBC.”

Nigel will be on Feedback on Radio 4 today at 4.30pm discussing the closure with listeners.

The Next Web favourably reported on the reintroduction of the Favourites feature on the iPlayer Android App:

All iPlayer really needs now is ‘accounts’ to let users sync all their favourites across platforms, though don’t hold your breath for that. Actually, another big feature the Android app could do with is downloads, which you may remember was introduced for the iOS incarnation back in September.”

randd-512.jpg Building the R&D website

The Research and Development blog have published another set of updates on cutting edge work from BBC R&D:

“Tristan and Michael have been watching with fascination our World Service archive prototype being picked up by the radio drama community, starting with someone creating a curated collection of the radio drama and plays in there.”

As well as continuing research on the Internet Of Things

Vicky and Jasmine are continuing to explore and prototype ideas framed on our research questions: - How can we give non-digital objects behaviours to make stories more captivating and absorbing? - How can we make media management more physical? - How can we bring characteristics of theatre into the home? - How can we get our audience to shape and build their own experience?

connect-studio-1024.jpg Pitching at the Connected Studio

Finally this week I was fortunate enough to drop by the News Connected Studio to hear the pitches given to the News product team at the end of the two day build sessions.

Head of News product Chris Russell was on the judging panel to decide which ideas will be taken through to the pilot stage and it was fascinating to hear about the features we might be seeing on the News site in the future.

Follow the BBC Connected Studio on Twitter to get insights on what happens at the studios.

As ever it would be great to hear your thoughts. Have a great weekend.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I find it strange how all the latest news concerning the BBC's Android apps seems to come from The Next Web and not from the BBC themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    It is amazing the twists and turns that the BBC make in trying to find anything positive about their wreck of an Android iPlayer app. Reintroducing a patently obvious feature that was amazing removed when they released their shockingly poor app isn't good news. That and the 6 month old 'soon' just shows the contempt they show to Android users.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Considering that the latest update for the Android iPlayer has completely broken it for myself and, judging by the comments on Play, a good many other people, the BBC doesn't stand a chance against Netflix, which just works.

    The BBC had been at this, now, for well over two YEARS since they had the excellent 3rd party MyPlayer app killed off, and STILL cannot match its features (including downloads), quality, or the level of support and updates offered by its author.

    Danker is correct when he names the competition, but I don't think the BBC has the ability or leadership (including Danker, himself) to compete.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    You have to laugh at the comment in the "What's New" section for iPlayer on Google Play:-

    "Where are the downloads? Rest assured we are working hard to determine when this can be included for Android users."

    What on earth does "working hard to determine" mean? You mean its difficult to even determine WHEN it can be included? So what happens now? In six months time you will determine that it can be included in another 6 months?

    So much for the "transparency" another article was going on about. The whole Android iPlayer fiasco has been one of continuous stonewalling, misinformation and misdirection by the BBC!!!


    It is a simple question and deserves a simple answer. Next week? Within x weeks? Next year? WHEN?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    It is not only Android users that are suffering a poor i-player experience at the moment. After an Adobe Air update late last year there was a total loss of usability. This has been fixed (took too long) but ever since then there has been constant performance issues and download failures (Windows Vista / Chrome).

    I do wonder whether there is a wider agenda at work here. What with message boards effectively being handed over to the private sector I can see a future where the BBC relies on the private sector for their on demand style internet viewing services.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    As there is no current blogpost open on the subject BBC HD or BBC 3D, I am posting my comment on this post.

    BBC HD will become BBC Two HD on March 26th, however in November 2013 we will be able to see Doctor Who in 3D on one of the BBC HD channels and in the cinema's.

    As they also have stated that the HD experience on BBC One will be unaffected by the 3D broadcast, and as it will be shown on a lineair channel, this implies it will be broadcast on BBC Two HD.

    Can someone tell us how the BBC will use a simulcast channel to broadcast non-simulcast content.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    It looks like the Featured post on this blog will always be the second post of the current order.


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