BBC iPlayer: find programmes from other on demand services
Today we are launching a new feature in BBC iPlayer that helps you find programmes from other broadcasters and on demand content providers.
Either by using the 'schedule widget' (see left), or the 'search' function (see below), you will be able to find other video on demand content, and link directly into the playback page of your chosen programme from one of our partners websites.
To do this, feeds are taken from our partners periodically that contain all their programme information, both scheduled and on demand to make the programmes findable through the BBC iPlayer interface.
Image left shows a Five schedule displayed via BBC iPlayer 'schedule widget
Image below shows Channel 4' "Shameless" displayed via BBC iPlayer search function
When the content isn't available the programme title is greyed out and the words (not available) appear beneath the program information:
It's been a while in the making, but this has been an extremely ambitious and technically complicated project. We wanted to get to a user-experience that feels intuitive and not "bolted on", even though the experience is as much reliant on the data feeds from our partners as our own engineering.
We've worked hard with our partners to make sure that we're getting the right data and images for programmes when available, however you may find from time to time there's no images (see image below). We've also updated our FAQ section to include Partner Linking, click here for more information.
The occasional lack of images is down to technical limitations and we're working with all partners to rectify this as soon as we can. We really pleased to have six partners for launch but inclusion into this programme is not limited. Any provider of UK on demand content that holds rights to video that has previously been broadcast on an OFCOM regulated channel can apply to become a BBC iPlayer partner and have their content added, so we hope to see more partners programmes appear in BBC iPlayer over time.
More broadly, we think BBC Online should serve as a hub to support other UK sites and want to double the traffic we send externally. Already the BBC News product is one of the top 5 sites driving referrals to UK newspapers, adding value to the UK online economy and our audiences: this partnership is a good example of how the BBC iPlayer can follow in those footsteps.
Given the popularity of BBC iPlayer, we hope this feature will support fellow broadcasters and boost the overall uptake of video on demand.
Most importantly, by helping audiences uncover great digital services that exist elsewhere on the web, we believe we're performing an important public service.
As always I'd welcome your feedback.
Paul Clark is Head of Audience-Facing Services, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media and Technology
N.B. Clarification 3.50 p.m.: Channel 4 are currently not in the new BBC iPlayer schedule widget but will be soon (due to technical issues which are being addressed). However C4 are an On Demand Partner, and C4 programmes can be searched for in iPlayer. For example, here are search results for Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and Hollyoaks.