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Interesting Stuff 2008-10-20

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Alan Connor | 15:30 UK time, Monday, 20 October 2008

BBC tech boss Erik Huggers gave a presentation called Broadcasting In The Digital Age: Simplicity & Convergence at MIP about "the challenges facing broadcasters as the pace of change accelerates, and how they must evolve to ensure a consistent experience across all platforms - without compromising quality."

Over at the MIP blog, there's a "big interview video":

In the context of MIPCOM 2008's Broadband Video Summit, Erik Huggers, the BBC's director of future media and technology, spoke to journalist Kate Bukley. He notably revealed a kids' iPlayer was in the pipeline.

On this subject, the Guardian's Leigh Holmwood reckons that the interview adds little to another Erik interview - last week's one with the Guardian.

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feedback_radio7.pngOn the 17 Oct edition of Radio 4's Feedback, Roger Boulton says:

It's still the BBC's most popular digital station, but have you been struggling with Radio 7's redesigned website? Some of Feedback's correspondents have and we put their complaints to Radio 7's interactive editor.

The programme is here in iPlayer.

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foi_bbc_holiday.pngJane Black, a user of the Freedom Of Information site What Do They Know?, has had a reply [pdf] to her request:

Based on the precedent set by your release of the cost of BBC Action Network (see link below), please send me the annual cost of the recently-closed BBC Holiday website from 2003 onwards.

FoI fans can get more BBC responses regarding "the status of the Creative Archive Licence" here [pdf 1 | pdf 2].

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Vision multiplatform exec Dan Taylor blogs on his personal site about programme sites:

As previously posted, my job requires me to have an overview of the whole of BBC Vision's online portfolio. Until recently, my record of new site launches comprised a TextEdit document on my laptop (edited on a daily basis) and an Excel spreadsheet on a shared drive (updated, er, less frequently). A couple of weeks back I decided that a far better tool for maintaining and sharing this information would be a simple blog.

vision_sites430.png

And so BBC Vision Site Launches [rss] is now in BBC Internet Blog's Pageflake.

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olympics_parade_map430.png

A post at Mapperz ("The Mapping News Blog") calls Ollie Williams' BBC Olympic and Paralympic Heroes Parade Map a "BBC first to report a live event using mapping tools"; Ollie explains all at the Olympics Blog:

It's clever stuff, and it allows us to tell the story of events in a complex, live, graphic environment for the first time. In the future, mobile technology like this could help us cover big sporting events (for example, Wimbledon or the Open golf) in new ways.
 
Along with geo-located Twitter updates on the Beijing map in August (read more about that map here), this map marks the debut for this geo-locating lark in BBC Sport's coverage.
 
It remains very much a developing technology, and isn't 100% reliable. If you've ever used satellite navigation devices in your car, and found yourself frantically pointing upwards when it suggests it "cannot locate satellite", you'll know what I mean.

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Hot new "Use Our Stuff To Build Your Stuff" action over at BBC Backstage's mailing list: Dominic Burns presents Have Your Say Too ("the idea is for it to be a modified "Have Your Say", allowing users to comment on all BBC news items (emphasis on 'all')") and Andy of iPlayerlist ("making the unmissable, browsable") fame says:

Bereft of any real ideas I asked myself "if you took all the BBC TV shows that are currently on iPlayer and plotted them on a map would it be any use what so ever?"
The result: http://iplayerlist.mibly.com/map/

Internet Blog readers will doubtless also be wanting to read the thread [backstage] BBC DRM iplayer mobiles etc.

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iplayer_sky_player.pngFrom the Partnerships Which Rhyme Dept, a "joint press release from BBC and BSkyB":

The BBC and Sky have announced that BBC iPlayer can now be accessed via Sky Player, Sky's online TV service.
The new version of Sky Player includes a series of BBC branded sections, with listings information and links to all TV programmes on the BBC iPlayer service.
Sky Player, which offers users access to live and on-demand content from a range of channel providers, will now also offer access to content from all BBC television channels.

And staying with telly-not-(necessarily)-on-the-telly, Robert Andrews at paidContent asks Ashley Highfield, formerly of this parish about Project Kangaroo (which is looking at a closed beta) and what he's been doing since leaving the Beeb, given the Competition Commission's interest:

Highfield jokingly told me: "I've brought my golf handicap down to eight." In seriousness, he's been "making the case", working with the regulator: "I spent the day with the Competition Commission yesterday, going through the proposal." Despite the holding pattern, "with the Competition Commission's blessing we, are building the offering... and we expect to have a closed beta around Christmas time... they don't want the regulatory procedure to hold up innovation."

Combining Freeview with HD, Mark Sweeney writes a Guardian piece headlined ITV, Channel 4 & BBC To Launch HD Channels On Freeview Next Year:

Football fans in some areas of the UK will be able to watch the 2010 World Cup in high definition on Freeview after Ofcom announced that ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC will launch channels next year.
 
The media regulator today revealed the results of a competitive tender process to launch the first three HD channels in "late autumn" next year, with a fourth expected to launch by 2010.

You can join the lively discussion at the Join Freesat Blog.

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At the time of typing, 544 BBC employees are using Yammer, a workplace Twitter-like service.

bbc_yammer.png

Our blogger-in-residence Steve Bowbrick attributes a recent surge of signups to the head of FM&T Erik Huggers using the service; James Cridland, the Audio & Music FM&T boss, likes it ("I can talk about stuff we're doing without worrying whether I'm irritating anyone outside the BBC with my talk of HWH, W12, BC5 D2 M1, etc etc. It's rather fine."); Backstage's Ian Forrester says "where's the API, people? Come on, this is becoming unacceptable already".

And over on her personal blog, Innovation Executive Lucy Hooberman puts all this Yammering into context, talking about how we talk about what we do - for example, on personal blogs:

In the past you would have said the BBC really communicates what it is about to the public only via its programmes as well as via press releases, annual reports, consultations and complaints the historic tools of corporate communications.
 
But now many staff on official blogs and personal blogs offer additional insight into what is going on behind the scenes in terms of how we do our jobs, how the BBC works, how we make decisions and importantly who we are. That's incredibly important for collaborations and partnerships of any kind - knowing who you are doing business with, or talking to and being able to talk to them creates a virtual circle of information leading to understanding and participation being able to be used effectively

And, in the interests of balance, if you want to see what people are twittering about the BBC's use of Yammer, go here.

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commons_benches.jpg

Finally, over in the Commons, MP Richard Younger-Ross (Shadow Minister, Culture, Media & Sport; Liberal Democrat) has told his fellow members debating the Broadcasting (Television Licence Fee Abolition) Bill [iPlayer]:

The BBC website is the most trusted in the world for news and current affairs programmes that are authoritative, accurate and, above all, impartial.

Nice to see it on the permanent record.

Alan Connor is co-editor, BBC Internet Blog.

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