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A more personal BBC for everyone

Helen Boaden

Director, BBC Radio and Executive Sponsor for myBBC

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We’ve just had one of the most successful summers of sport for the UK – with huge medal tallies from our Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Rio, Andy Murray winning Wimbledon and an action-packed Euro 2016.

Now, with the autumn TV schedule in full swing and the return of favourites such as Poldark and Strictly – we’re looking forward to bringing the nation together with the best British content.

But like others– from Twitter to eBay, Facebook to Netflix, from Channel 4 to Amazon - in addition to these shared moments, we’re also seeing more and more of you want to have an experience that’s personalised and tailored to what you like.

We’ve already started delivering these kinds of services – like helping you catch all the action you wanted during the Olympics. Throughout the summer of sport, millions chose to get alerted the action anytime (day or night) – with 2.8 million people subscribing to alerts.

And it’s not just sport. On BBC iPlayer for example, viewers received 70 million personalised programme recommendations - making sure they got more of what they love or discovered something they might not have otherwise found from the BBC.

For those who opted in, we also sent out 22 million emails highlighting great new and returning content from across the BBC - increasingly personalised to their interests. And, we’ve launched new personalised BBC Music, BBC Bitesize and BBC+ mobile apps – bringing the BBC content you care about to your finger-tips.

It’s time for a change

With over seven million of you signing into the BBC or registering for the first time over the last year, it’s time to make some changes to ensure all of you get the best from your BBC. These changes will happen in two stages.

In the first stage, this week, we’ll be updating our sign-in system to be more robust, reliable and secure than ever before. For people registering for the first time we will make it easier and more welcoming. We’ll also be asking you for a little more information - including your postcode if you’re over 18. Why you ask? By knowing your postcode, it will help us understand how people from different places are using the BBC. It will also let us make local news and weather in your area easier to find - and recommend content and events which may be particularly relevant to where you live. It will also ensure we’re making something for everyone and inform what programmes we make in the future.

For those of you signed into the BBC already you will need to sign in again – but don’t fear, we’ve made it as easy and hassle-free as possible. At the same time, we’re launching a new area on our website called ‘Using the BBC’ – a jargon-free area which gives you more information around how we treat your data and ensure its privacy, your BBC ID account and what we will (and importantly won’t) do with your data. Our promise is simple. We will only collect data we need to give you a better experience, improve our services and fulfil our responsibilities as a public service. It’s up to you how you use our services – so you can manage or delete your BBC account at any time. And, because we’re a public service, we will help you make informed decisions about your data, so everyone can get the best out of digital technologies and the BBC. And finally - we promise to never sell your personal details to anyone and to only use your data commercially if you are using commercial BBC services, like BBC Store.

The second stage is that from early next year, we want everyone to enjoy the benefits of a more personalised BBC. To do this, we’ll be asking everyone to sign in to use BBC iPlayer, BBC iPlayer Radio and in future on our mobile apps.

We know that when others have done this, viewing often takes a dip as people take time to sign up - so we’re fully prepared for that. Over the next few months we’ll be encouraging as many of you as possible to log in early - and start enjoying some of these personalised features. And don’t worry, we’ve made it really simple, so once you’ve done it once on your device, that’s it - you’re good to go.

Some of you might be thinking that this is driven by the changes to the so-called ‘iPlayer loophole’ which means you now need a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand on iPlayer. It’s not – it’s about giving you a better BBC. As we said earlier this month, we’ll carry on using our existing enforcement processes and techniques which we believe to be adequate and appropriate. In fact, early TV Licensing data shows that – as we expected - significant numbers of new people have bought a licence since the new rules came into force. We will keep our processes under review to make sure they are effective. The Government has asked us to review whether a verification system for accessing the iPlayer will be required in the future.

Go on, sign-in

This autumn’s schedule is packed full of fantastic British drama, comedy and entertainment including the return of critically acclaimed series Our Girl, The Fall, Ordinary Lies, Dragons' Den and Asian Provocateur to name but a few. Not only do we hope you enjoy those more familiar programmes, but we also want to help you discover something you might not otherwise have found.

Give it a go. It will only take a minute. We think you’ll like it.

Sign in here. Don’t have an account? Register today.

Helen Boaden is Director of BBC Radio and Executive Sponsor for myBBC

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