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Closing the News Multiscreen on Red Button

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 12:13 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

Interactive TV, in the form of the BBC's Red Button services, has been with us now for over a decade.

The BBC periodically reviews all its services, looking at whether they still deliver value for money, whether they are available on platforms our users can easily access and whether they continue to meet the changing needs of audiences.

For the Red Button video Multiscreen service in particular we also have to consider how it fits with the development of next-generation interactive TV (for example our new BBC News service on Connected TVs) as this starts to become more widely available.

A recent review, undertaken as part of a BBC strategy and consultation process called Delivering Quality First recommended changes to our existing Red Button services, specifically "a phased reduction of broadcast Red Button services, reducing the number of interactive streams to one across all platforms and exploring the longer-term transition to IPTV technologies".

As a result, we will soon be closing the remaining BBC News Multiscreen video service. The date scheduled for this is 20 June. Currently the service is still available to Sky and Virgin Media consumers - a Freeview version closed in October 2009.

A comprehensive News, Sport and Weather text service will continue to be offered via the Red Button, and other BBC News content will of course still be available on the Sky and Virgin Platforms, for example on the BBC News channel. And the BBC's News, Sport and Weather video content is obviously also available online.

Removing a service is always a difficult decision, but at the same time we are investing resources in brand new internet-connected TV services which we believe will allow us to offer far more than we've been able to before via Red Button, with more choice, more content, delivered in more appealing formats. More on these new developments before too long.

Update 15:25 BST, 26 June: The Red Button News Multiscreen video loops have now been closed, but if you are using Red Button you'll still get the full text service, which you can use in conjunction with the BBC News Channel. As I explained above, this decision was taken because we are now investing in a new internet-connected TV service which will, in effect, be the next generation of Red Button. Here are some answers to the questions posted below:

Craig - Facebook's an important platform and we have a page here but no current plans to integrate this into Red Button.

Skywatchman - there's a text version of the paper review which we publish every morning on the website which might be useful for you. The latest one is here and you can always find it by putting Newspaper review into the BBC News search engine.

Cping500, Aspiemum, David Godfrey and Skywatchman - the number of people with internet-connected TVs is indeed still small, but growing steadily, as manufacturers increasingly ship them as standard.

Sunny Isle of Wight - you should be able to watch BBC News video on iPad - clips do now work on the site, the News Channel stream works if you download the BBC News App, and you can also watch bulletins via iPlayer.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.


  • Comment number 1.

    I wouldn't want that, any more than I would want to listen to several radio programmes simultaneously...

  • Comment number 2.

    Interactive TV - BBC's Red Button services - may have been with you for over a decade, but I never knew it (Shame on me!) So, if it helps your anxiety at all, I can't miss what I (through my own fault) never had. Incidentally, I am not a huge fan of interactive, multi-screening. Hurts my brain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Steve, I believe simplifying is a good strategy. Curious about the internet-connected TV services you mention: are we likely to see interactive links on BBC to 'like' breaking news on Facebook anytime soon? My kids will love it but I agree with Bluesberry- would probably do my head in!

  • Comment number 4.

    I must be in the minority as I regulary wait for the paper review to be on the multiscreen and now I will have to try and catch the re-run on the BBC News website in the morning (hopefully before they take it down) Its a bit quick, announced the 14th to be taken off on the 20th June. I will miss it very much.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    actually I would how many people can get IPTV reliably? And can they afford it`? Can I duggest a systematic review be published.

  • Comment number 7.

    Re 4: I am one of the Freeview only viewers when it comes to digital, but the paper review on Red Button>News 102>UK>UK Papers, the equivalent of Ceefax page 148 is not going anywhere.

  • Comment number 8.

    I usually watch BBC news on channel 80 and think it would be helpful to have the name/identity of the interviewee/speaker as well as the subject matter of the news item. It would be helpful for me anyway.

  • Comment number 9.

    BBC please do not move things to IPTV except in parallel to a non-IPTV version. Many people in this country, including myself, simply can't get a fast enough internet connection for IPTV to work. However, we pay the same TV license as those that can.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sue_Aitch wrote:
    Re 4: I am one of the Freeview only viewers when it comes to digital, but the paper review on Red Button>News 102>UK>UK Papers, the equivalent of Ceefax page 148 is not going anywhere.

    Tks Sue, had a look, it had the previous days news? I'm being picky but it doesn't have vision or witty banter between BBC News desk person and guest reviewer. Multi-screen will be missed

  • Comment number 11.

    That`s the issue, is with a strong enough connection to get IPTV network

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    i for one will be very sorry to see the Multiscreen go as i work on shifts and this is the only program i get news weather and sport in about 6mins before i go to work, as my place of work wont pay for an entertanments licence so as they say it saves £2000 a year and we get no radio

  • Comment number 14.


    We use the BBC multi screen news and weather every day on Sky's red button. Very useful for a quick update on news and weather videos.

    We have no plans to buy an internet connected TV.

    And why have we been given only one weeks notice?

    As I said, BIG MISTAKE!!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    As I previously posted, I might be in a minority regarding my concerns on the closing of the Multi-screen but as several other posters have commented we do not plan (or can afford) to upgrade to a internet enabled TV. It would have been far more customer friendly to maintain the service until the cutover of the new

  • Comment number 16.

    I get up at daft o'clock in the mornings to get ready for work and watch the paper review whilst drinking my coffee, please do not remove it, I do not have I.E.TV. and do not have time to log on to the internet. If you have to, get rid of the sport, entertainment and 5 mins with.....

  • Comment number 17.

    Ok well BBC at last a improvement we all hope?
    never could see the weather programme
    On the multiscreen anyway has to zoom it into
    To see it .With too many screen this was very poor
    Service they provided Sky news used to be large
    On the red button but that also too small
    Improve the interactive services now for all
    Viewers eye sights !!

  • Comment number 18.

    I use the red button, Newspapers, video of Weather, 5 minutes with .., as I only have an iPad I will longer be able to see these as iPads don't have flash. BBC I player doesn't let me have access, so how can I see any of the services now? It would only have been an improvement if you allowed people with apple products the same access as others with window products.


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