Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Releases

2009: the year of BBC Red Button

  • Almost one million people tune into watch new animated Doctor Who series
  • Christmas karaoke is back as BBC Red Button brings interactive offering to Top Of The Pops
  • Twenty-four Victorian Christmas "how to" guides released on BBC Red Button
  • New interactive technology to bring BBC iPlayer to Freesat this Christmas [1]

This year has been the most successful year in BBC Red Button's history and, with an average of over 11 million people pressing red each week, there's been more interactive content launched this year than ever before.

With exclusive Christmas content, including 24 "how to" guides to help create your own Victorian Christmas in combination with BBC Two's Victorian Farm Christmas, and the now famous karaoke Christmas Top Of The Pops, the team behind red button are gearing up to end the year with a bang.

After celebrating its 10th anniversary in November 2008, this year audiences have tuned in to watch traditional favourites like Wimbledon and the Eurovision Song Contest, and been treated to new and exciting innovations such as the BBC Proms "Maestro-cam", an innovative F1 experience and a brand-new CBeebies service, tailored to each digital TV platform.

The new animated Doctor Who series, Dreamland, saw almost a million people press red to watch the new six-part series and just over a million watched Robbie Williams perform three exclusive tracks on the red button as part of his appearance on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross.

John Denton, Managing Editor, BBC Red Button, said: "This year has proven that audiences love choice and enjoy the extra interactivity that the red button service can provide and we're pleased that, as UK television becomes fully digital, we've been able to take this incredible performance to even more viewers."

It's not just the amount of people using the service that has made this year so successful for this platform, BBC software engineers have extended red button technology to deliver BBC iPlayer to new audiences via Virgin Media and Freesat, allowing people to catch up with their favourite BBC programmes on their televisions in the living room.

Rahul Chakkara, Controller of TV Platforms for BBC Future Media & Technology, said: "From the initial development work conducted by the BBC Research & Development team, followed up by the breakthrough innovation of our 2001 Wimbledon coverage, the red button service has redefined what was possible on the television screen.

"Today the BBC offers one of the leading interactive television services in the world. With the internet reaching television devices, we aim to produce more innovative and valuable services that will continue to delight our audience."

Notes to Editors

[1] BBC iPlayer on Freesat beta launched on 7 December 2009 to a small number of Freesat viewers, and will continue its rollout in the New Year.

Over the past 10 years the BBC's Red Button service has won over 15 awards, including four Baftas and an International Emmy for Best Interactive Service in 2007.

Top 2009 Music content on the BBC Red Button in terms of audience:

Glastonbury 2009 – 6.06 million
Electric Proms – 2.56 million
T In The Park – 2.05 million
Reading and Leeds Music Festival – 1.85 million
Robbie Williams on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross – 1.19 million

Top 2009 Sport content on the BBC Red Button in terms of audience:

Wimbledon – 7.51 million
Snooker World Championship – 3.96 million
Formula 1 – 3.69 million
Cricket: The Ashes – 3.08 million
Golf: The Open – 2.40 million

Top 2009 Entertainment content on the BBC Red Button in terms of audience:

Eurovision Song Contest – 1.69 million
National Lottery, Guesstimation – 1.5 million
National Lottery, In It To Win It – 1.46 million
National Lottery, 1 vs.100 – 1.25 million
CBBC Extra – 1.08 million

Top Ten achievements about BBC Red Button from the last 10 years

1. November 1998 – First pilot of Digital Text services on TV.
2. 1998 onwards – More than £8m has been donated to BBC Children In Need via the Red Button over the 10 years.
3. 2001 – BAFTA won for the first multiscreen Red Button coverage of Wimbledon.
4. 2001 – BAFTA, RTS and Electronic Multimedia Award (EMMA) won for BBC One's Walking With Beasts Interactive. Throughout the duration of the series viewers could access four screens and choose between watching additional footage, such as the science behind the series and the making of, and change the commentary if they wished.
5. 2002 – Test The Nation awarded an EMMA and is Highly Commended at the Broadcast Awards the following year.
6. 2005 – Red Button coverage of the Athens Olympics earns a BAFTA nomination and a RTS Sports Innovation award.
7. 2005 – Spooks wins a BAFTA for Best Interactive Service, a D&AD award for Outstanding Achievement Enhanced TV and a Grand Prix and Best Game prizes at the Milia Awards.
8. 2007 – AFDESI Award for Best Innovation & Design for Waking The Dead. Following the second part of the two-part films, Red Button viewers were transported behind the scenes and into the world of the cold case unit.
9. 2007 – International Interactive Emmy award to BBC Red Button for Best Interactive Service.
10. 2008 – Red Button launches the BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media.


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