BBC Sport Beta Facebook App

Thursday 28 June 2012, 14:51

Aaron Scullion Aaron Scullion Executive Product Manager

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BBC Sport app beta, showing Wimbledon. You're watching Bemelmans vs Gasquet, as are four of your friends. Court 3 is the most popular.

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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Comments

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    Comment number 1.

    Will you be able to watch matches on mobile phones too?

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    Comment number 2.

    Handing a commercial company (whose revenue is made from advertising) licence fee paid content?

    How much is Facebook paying the BBC for this?

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    Comment number 3.

    I STRONGLY object to this. I’m not on Facebook (I can’t see the point of it and don’t trust Zuckerberg with my information) and because of this I’m not being allowed to watch this content, despite me being a licence payer.

    It’s an absolute disgrace that a private company, whose privacy practices are suspect at best, have been handed this premium content by the BBC. Who’s paying who here? Facebook’s going to be laughing with the additional advertising revenue and the wealth of data about the people using the BBC Olympics App. Win-Win for Facebook. Lose-Lose for users and licence-payers.

    I’m so angry about this that I’m contacting my MP regarding it. The BBC’s gone too far this time. And I'll be amazed if they post this.....

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    Comment number 4.

    I'm suitably amazed! ;-)

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    Comment number 5.

    With you VR59. This IS a step too far.

    If the BBC is not being paid for giving content to Facebook, along with all that lovely free data that Facebook will receive, this is a disgrace.

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    Comment number 6.

    And why only Facebook? What about every other Social Network, or website, for that matter?

    Can I now just set up my own, and rebroadcast BBC content for free? After all, the quote from Auntie is "We want as many licence fee payers as possible to have access to the full Olympics live video offering".

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    Comment number 7.

    It's so tiresome and predictable. Every time the BBC does something innovative someone will find a reason to criticise. The streamis available on the Facebook website as well as the BBC website; it's not an exclusive deal. Read the whole of article first before complaining: "As ever, the full BBC Sport offering continues to be available at www.bbc.co.uk/sport."

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    Comment number 8.

    Jonathan Hartley - I love the BBC, but giving away content to Facebook is a step too far in my book, no pun intended. If it's also on the BBC website why do it and facilitate even more earnings for Facebook with licence-payer funded content?

    And Green Soap has a good point - I have a website which gets over 3 million visits per month. I think I'll set up BBC Olympics streaming on it and see what happens.

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    Comment number 9.

    So what's in it for the licence payer, Jonathan?

    Content is either
    1) paid for by Facebook, as it will bring them more revenue.
    2) Provided Free to facebook by the BBC

    If it's 1, then fair enough, a commercial deal has been struck, and the BBC generates more income, which in turn can benefit the budget, much as BBC worldwide sells/sold the BBC's content overseas. I do have concerns over advertising that may accompany BBC content on Facebook, and Data Collection, however.

    If it's 2, then that is reprehensible. Giving away a commercial product, to another commercial organisation raises questions about many things, not only the impartiality of the BBC. Again, what other Websites will be "given" such a valuable product? Youtube or Google+?

    As a licence fee payer, I question that. I'm sure that rival companies would also question the favouring of Facebook.

    The BBC's content is easily accessed on every platform and resources MUST be concentrated on those, and those alone.

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    Comment number 10.

    This is the absolute limit. The sooner the BBC is totally privatised and I have a way of opting out of the licence tax the better.

    By the way how much money is being wasted by totally unnnecessary attendance by BBC spivs at the Olympics and football? All outside broadcast sports and other commentary can be performed just as well from their plush new studios.

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    Comment number 11.

    Dear Aaron Scullion,

    Could you explain if the BBC has "sold" the content to Facebook? Does it generate a measure revenue stream for the company?

    If yes - great business and I look forward to A REDUCTION in the licence fee from this venture.

    If not - please can I apply to use the same stream and collect my own revenue from advertising.

    Many thanks

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    Comment number 12.

    Why?

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    Comment number 13.

    I have been complaining about similar things to this for years. Finally it seems that people have realised that the links the BBC has with Facebook and Twitter, and the overpromotion both receive benefit only these private companies, and not the BBC or its licence fee payers.

    This is a clear breach of the BBC's own editorial guidelines, just like every unnecessary mention of "Twitter" and "Facebook" across the networks. The BBC's content should be produced for, and available only on the BBC website.

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    Comment number 14.

    I'm dumbfounded. Please explain the financial deal that has been arranged. Facebook gain money out of ads on BBC content?

    Does this fit with the BBC Charter (1.3.3) ...."the Agreement forbids any BBC service funded by the licence fee or grant-in-aid from carrying advertising or sponsored programmes". This is not BBC worldwide, which has different policies. Nothing in the charter states who is the recipient of the advert revenue.

    How can the BBC justify, under its charter, Facebook getting financial gain from ad revenue from BBC content and valuable viewer information from the BBC?

    A while back, the BBC used to put a facebook widget *ON EVERY PAGE* on its news site. That widget was hosted by facebook, so they, for free, got web stat information on BBC website visitors. I pointed this out to the BBC, and a few days later they removed the widget thankfully. Is this another case similar to this?

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    Comment number 15.

    If people are concerned about this being an issue, then surely all the free content that the BBC's own staff provide to Twitter via their own BBC-sanctioned accounts is also questionable.

    The BBC's content should be on the BBC website and nowhere else. (Except where sold by BBC Worldwide).

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    Comment number 16.

    The BBC's content should be on the BBC website and nowhere else.

    I concur.

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    Comment number 17.

    Hi,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Although the question of whether the BBC's content should appear on an app on a third party site is, I think, on-topic for Aaron's blog, the conversation (and speculation) is beginning to stray a bit - both away from the topic (eg onto the BBC's funding model), and away from the house rules ("spiv").

    It would be nice to hear what people think of not just the idea of a BBC Sport Facebook app, but the app itself.

    More off-topic posts will be removed.

    Thanks,

    Ian

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    Comment number 18.

    Is the BBC likely to advise the licence payer what, if any payment is being received?

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    Comment number 19.

    Now we know why the red button died. Advertising.

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    Comment number 20.

    Ian McDonald, I can't comment on the App as not being a Facebook user I can't use it. And to be honest, even if I WAS a Facebook user I wouldn't use ANY of the apps on the Facebook site because of the privacy issues/breaches and Facebook's general contempt for its users and their information.

    The idea of BBC apps in general is ok with me - I use a BBC News app on my Android tablet and it does it's job, but the idea of tying an app to the likes of Facebook doesn't work for me on any level. In fact it's not really acceptable tying the BBC to a commercial, strictly-for-profit and contemptable company like Facebook.

    If the BBC are going to develop and deploy apps, they need to be independent apps. It's as simple as that.

 

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