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A Page For Every Programme

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Sophie Walpole | 15:53 UK time, Monday, 5 November 2007

david_reed_windmill_rd1970.pngProgramme support. It used to be so easy. If you wanted to know when a show was on, you reached for the Radio Times. If you wanted to follow it up afterwards, you sent in a stamped, self-addressed envelope. If you missed it... well... you missed it. Since the earliest days of bbc.co.uk, the BBC has responded to the new worlds of on-demand and interactivity by producing thousands of lovingly crafted programme-related sites offering anything from listings, games, clips and educational information to Listen Again, the iPlayer and full live Test The Nation-style interactivity.

These sites serve all sorts of different needs, but are not always serving the best interests of the user - a point eloquently made on Dadblog a while back. And while our programme offering was vast, it was neither comprehensive nor was it permanent. Try searching the web for information about BBC Two's The Verdict (which had a substantial web presence when broadcast) and all you will find is this press release.

radio_times.pngA key plank of Tom Loosemore's bbc.co.uk 2.0 strategy was to ensure a base level of consistency, quality and permanence for all BBC programmes online. A single URL for every episode of every programme made for the BBC... forever. At the same time, we wanted to explore how to automate some of the process, capturing the metadata naturally produced in the production process and publish it dynamically so that users could find out the status of the programme at any point in its lifecycle. So /programmes was born.

As Tom Scott revealed, it launched last month in beta and you can expect significant changes in the coming months as we roll out new features and functionality. And as Martin Belam points out, it may be long overdue - but thanks to the talented technology team in Audio&Music Interactive, we have now made that crucial first step in a new direction...

Sophie Walpole is workstream leader for Automated Programme Support.

Comments

  1. At 08:28 PM on 05 Nov 2007, Alan wrote:

    I always thought the BBC Catalogue should be evolved into a one-stop programme resource; info on prior broadcasts, a facility to be alerted on a re-run or fresh series, and even generic alerts (say, any Russian Language programmes, i.e. within Learning Zone). This is a good step in that direction.

    As far as feedback goes, it would be good to see the following condensed on listing pages:

    # BBC Three: 22:30-23:30, Tuesday, 30 October 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Cambridgeshire: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Channel Islands: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One East: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One East Midlands: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Yorks & Lincs: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One London: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Northern Ireland: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One North East & Cumbria: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One North West: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Oxfordshire: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Scotland: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One South: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One South East: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One South West: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Wales: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One West: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One West Midlands: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007
    # Spooks: Episode 4 BBC One Yorkshire: 21:00-22:00, Tuesday, 6 November 2007

    Perhaps BBC One could be listed as the authoritative listing for such network programmes, and then only those which differed (either listed at a different time, or as an exclusion).

  2. At 12:49 PM on 06 Nov 2007, Michael Smethurst wrote:

    Hi Alan

    Broadcast listings on episode pages is one of (many) things that should be fixed in the next release ;-)

  3. At 05:30 PM on 17 Dec 2007, Michael Smethurst wrote:

    Fixed now

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0084k7z

    sorry for the delay

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