BBC Sport Beta Facebook App
Mockup of the Facebook app during play, showing the social enhancement of the video
I'm Aaron Scullion, Executive Product Manager at BBC Future Media. I'm currently working on sport and the Olympics at the BBC, and recently blogged about the new BBC Sport app for connected TVs that we launched in April. I'd like to tell you about another way we're making it possible for you to watch live video from BBC Sport.
Today, we have launched a new BBC Sport Facebook app – the details are in the press release. During the Olympics this will enable users in the UK to watch up to 24 streams of live Olympics video the BBC is broadcasting (plus BBC One, Two and Three) – directly within Facebook.
Right now, we're running the service as a beta, featuring all our live video from Wimbledon – up to six live streams, plus BBC One and Two.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the app is a BBC Sport service, but is entirely delivered within Facebook.
This means that we can use the social functionality Facebook offers to enhance the experience.
For example, when you watch a match in Facebook, you can see how many people - and how many people you're friends with on Facebook - are watching that same event.
As well as that, the fact that you're watching the match is shared with your friends, via an update in their Facebook news feed. (You can easily remove each update with a single click if you don't want to share at a particular time).
You can also see which matches are proving most popular on Facebook, and switch to a different video stream on that basis.
We want as many licence fee payers as possible to have access to the full Olympics live video offering, and our Facebook app will offer this to viewers who may not regularly visit the BBC Sport website. As previously announced, during the Games the BBC will offer audiences more choice than ever before with up to 24 Olympic streams on cable, satellite, online and connected TV. Helping viewers find the event they want to watch is key, and our Facebook app offers another way to choose what you want to watch, by showing which events are most popular with the public, and which events your friends are watching.
We will be testing the BBC Sport app during Wimbledon, and updating it with more functionality as we go.
This is the first time the BBC has streamed content in Facebook, and we are excited to offer our audiences a social viewing experience around big sports events.
As ever, the full BBC Sport offering continues to be available at www.bbc.co.uk/sport.
In the near future we’ll blog about this app again, with more details on the technical architecture that underpins what we’ve launched today. I'd be very interested in hearing feedback from anyone who has tried the application in the comments below.
Aaron Scullion is Executive Product Manager, BBC Future Media