Mobile partnerships at the BBC: Microsoft

Tuesday 5 March 2013, 09:30

Cyrus Saihan Cyrus Saihan Head, Business Development

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As mentioned in my post yesterday, in Business Development at the BBC we partner with a range of companies in the digital and technology space to keep the BBC at the cutting edge of emerging communications, technologies and services.

As well as using ‘behind the scenes’ technologies and working with companies to enhance our own products we also partner with device manufacturers and platforms to reach as wide as possible an online audience in the UK.


Mobile is increasingly important as a way for our audiences to access our services. BBC iPlayer and BBC News are already available on Apple (iOS), Android and Blackberry platforms.

Today I can let you know that we have signed a deal with Microsoft that will enable us to bring BBC iPlayer to the Windows phone platform.

We will be releasing a shortcut to BBC iPlayer in the near future which will be available in the Windows Phone Store, enabling the BBC iPlayer website to work on Windows Phone 7.5 and 8 via a live tile.

This shortcut will wrap the BBC iPlayer mobile website together with our media player. Hopefully these and other developments will help to expand our online reach further. Our latest figures show that over 650 different device types can access BBC iPlayer.

Working with the industry in ways like this helps our digital services reach more of the UK’s online population and gives our audiences ever increasing ways to access BBC services.

We will keep you updated on the launch and more in the coming months on the blog and elsewhere.

Cyrus Saihan is head of Business Development, BBC Future Media.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Finally, iPlayer is sooo good now at last I get to watch on my phone. I hope it has a sleek metro UI.

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    Comment number 2.

    I hope it doesn't have the metro UI.
    BBC need to keep their corporate independence, and that includes the design of their services.

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    Comment number 3.

    So it's just the mobile site wrapped? What's the problem with making a fully modern UI native app?

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    Comment number 4.

    Will this be an actual iPlayer app, or just a shortcut link to the website..?

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    Comment number 5.

    This is good news. I really hope it's a proper app and not just a web link.

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    Comment number 6.

    Hi, this a very good news. I'm just a bit confused about one thing. You said you'll launch an live tile launcher to the iPlayer website in near future. Which is a good start. But will we ever have a native iPlayer app on Windows Phone?

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    Comment number 7.

    I agree, this is good news, but i would prefer for something like this first:

    ^^ BBC Sport Android App

    I would like a dedicated BBC News and Sport App before iPlayer which i am unlikely to use on my mobile. I would use iPlayer on my tablet however.

    Anyway, don't want to moan too much because this support is great for WP users.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    *sigh* as great as it is that you will be able to access iPlayer on WP, this sums up the state of WP for me.

    Treated as a 2nd class citizen, almost always when the app is multiplatform - it's a joke. As much as I love my Lumia 900, I cannot see me upgrading to WP8.

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    Comment number 9.

    This is brilliant news! I think I'm in the majority when I say I don't really care that it's not a native app. The majority of the time spent inside a video playing app is watching video, so having some fancy UI which would take a lot of time to develop is less of a priority than just simply giving the ability to watch video. Good choice BBC :)

    Thank you BBC for developing this. It will be great.

    I hope that this app will prove popular and will encourage you to improve on it in the future :)

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    Comment number 10.

    This is excellent but it kinda sounds like a website wrapper rather than a native app like the other platforms get? I am hoping I am wrong.

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    Comment number 11.

    Sounds like it will be a weblink: "We will be releasing a shortcut to BBC iPlayer", "This shortcut will wrap the BBC iPlayer mobile website together with our media player". I bet it is the same as the Android on the Nexus 7 which is a right lash up.
    One thing though, if can do a native app, why cant the BBC with the millions of our licence fee money?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Web apps are good thing as (hopefully) they should use more standards.
    Native apps are only needed where the web app cannot get at the hardware for acceleration requirements.

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    Comment number 13.

    Announce a new one and break an existing one! Can always count on the BBC to mess things up and not deliver properly.

    Since I cant get any decent help from the support site for iPlayer can you tell us what has broken the iplayer app for Android, from a quick bit of researh I think its mainly the Nexus range that is effected which is gobsmacking as it is pure Android and should be easier than the skinned versions.

    On subject though. Its about time tbh, all platforms in the UK should get an app as no matter what phone you use you have to pay for the license. Should be a discount in the fee if you cant get the apps, after all we all pay the same so should recieve the same service regardless of platform.

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    Comment number 14.

    @6 the Android iPlayer app after all these years is still basically a link, its about the competency level for the BBC app developers.

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    Comment number 15.

    This is great news but a long time coming!
    I have no issue with it being a link to the web app. Unless it has download capabilities then there isn't really any use for an app anyway.
    My only 'wants' would be a nice metro styled live tile and also a finger-friendly UI. If it is the website then that's even better as it should mean I can sign in and search through my favourites (unlike the Samsung TV app)

    I thought it was against Microsoft guidelines to have an app that is just a wrapper for a website so I'm guessing it will just be the ability to pin the iplayer site to the start screen (which means it won't show up in the app list or app store.

    The reason websites don't work on WP internet explorer is because it's the only mobile device that uses the Trident rendering engine (unlike webkit). This causes lots of issues with development costs. PErhaps it will be an cross-compatible HTML5 responsive design. That would work equally well on a Windows 8 tablet/laptop.

    It would be interesting to see some traffic stats on the different platforms that try to access iPlayer online.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Great news - really need this on WP.

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    Comment number 17.

    I hope they go with a fully native app. Thin wrappers over the browser degrades the usability of not only the application, but the service and the phone as a whole.

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    Comment number 18.

    Why does it always take BBC & MSFT so long to come to a commercial agreement for Windows? Android and iOS don't have this problem. Granted they have the greater footprint but in this age of mobile communications i don't consider popularity a valid excuse.

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    Comment number 19.

    Probably another mediocre and lazy piece of work from an organisation blinded by Apple's "Reality Distortion Field".

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    Comment number 20.

    We won't be building a native application for Windows Phone devices at this stage, but will instead be launching with a compatible version of our popular mobile website, accessed via a shortcut tile on the device.

    We want to make sure it is as easy as possible for you to find (and use) iPlayer on your mobile device, so this shortcut tile, which will be available on the Windows Phone Store, will give you access to your favourite BBC programmes on iPlayer with just one tap. By taking this approach, we are reflecting what we have done on other platforms such as BlackBerry.


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