Archives for October 2012

What's On BBC Red Button 27th October - 3rd November

Post categories:

Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 27 October 2012

What's On Red Button banner


Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games


A new series of Autumnwatch returns shortly to BBC Two but launches first on Red Button on Sunday 28th October.

Join the team as they stake out live in the Scottish Highlands, hoping to spot beavers, pine martens, red squirrels and lots of other local wildlife. Between 7am and midnight, we'll have live commentary on our live cameras from broadcasters and wildlife experts Chris Sperring and Euan McIlwraith, with text commentary running through the night.

When Red Button makes way for other programmes, you can continue to watch all the action 24 hours a day at until the close on Friday 2nd November.

For more information visit Autumnwatch

Read the rest of this entry

Presentations from Audio & Music event for independent suppliers

Post categories:

Mark Friend Mark Friend | 14:10 UK time, Friday, 26 October 2012

A slide from the presentation. The full version is available on the BBC Commissioning website

At our recent A&M Online Event for independent suppliers on October 12th, I shared our strategy for the BBC's radio and music online service and how we go about delivering this working with external suppliers.

It was a great opportunity for us to look at the launch and future of iPlayer Radio and share insights with each other. We had the following speakers:

• Barbara Greenway on the process for winning commissions

• Ben Chapman on popular music sites and events

• Andrew Caspari on classical music and speech radio sites

Andrew Scott on how to work with BBC technology teams

• Harry Cummings from Softwire on their experience of working with the BBC, warts 'n' all.

The presentations can be found on the BBC commissioning website.

It was fantastic that so many independent companies gave their time to come and share experiences. It helps us to improve our approach to commissioning and managing independent companies and to share our plans for the future.

I hope if you were there you found the event useful, and if you weren't you'll find the presentations stimulating.

Mark Friend is Controller, BBC Audio & Music Interactive

Five interesting stories: BBC Trust review of BBC Online and BBC Red Button

Post categories:

Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 10:23 UK time, Friday, 26 October 2012

bbc trust consultation bbc online red button

Have your say on the service review of BBC Online and BBC Red Button at the BBC Trust's website

It's been a while since the last round up on the blog, but some things are too important not to bring to your attention:

1. BBC Trust service review: BBC Online and BBC Red Button

The BBC Trust has launched a public consultation as part of its' review of BBC Online and BBC Red Button.

There's a "commentary" written by Suzanna Taverne the trustee who is steering the review. Quote:

"How, for instance, can BBC Online News best serve audiences in the age of Twitter? How can BBC Online help connect audiences around its best drama or factual programmes? What creative or editorial opportunities does the BBC's presence on a range of screens offer journalists or programme makers?"

BBC News also has the story. The consultation runs until 23rd January next year and you can send your response through the BBC Trust's website.

For those who like to wander down memory lane, here's two round ups of reaction to the last review way back in 2008, one curated by Jem Stone, the other by me.

2. BBC News: responsive design on mobiles

Steve Herrmann explains some updates to BBC News mobile site on the Editors blog. The sites were built using "responsive design". Steve also responds to some comments:

"Jesse Moore - HTC: We know there are some devices that are incorrectly classified by our systems, often due to the fact that some devices have different identifiers dependent on the mobile network they are on. In any case we will certainly be doing everything we can to correct errors and ensure the redirection behaves as it should. In the meantime, please use the "Mobile Site" link at the foot of the page should you wish to use the mobile site - the selection will be remembered as long as cookies are not cleared. At this time the redirect only applies to the BBC Homepage and the News site."

EConsultancy has an in depth look at the new site:

"The video content looks great, but it does take a while to load using 3G. Also, you have to click the play button twice - once to load the content and once to start the video - which is a bit of a pain as it isn't made obvious."

3. Media Player Updates for Android

Both Techwatch and Geeky Gadgets report some updates to the BBC Media Player for Android phones.

Chris Yanda's blog post about the Media Player is still open for your comments.

4. Research and Development: Invisibility Cloak!

Over on the BBC R&D blog Rosie Campell tells of her visit to Teen Tech Coventry:

"As always, our 'invisibility cloak' was an instant hit. With gradual prompting, most students were able to piece together how it worked - combining their knowledge of blue/green screens with the fact that the camera was surrounded by blue LEDs and the fact that there was something special about the cloak material - it is retroreflective cloth."

Rosie incidentally is one of the BBC Future Media ambassadors.

5. Goodbye Ceefax

Ceefax has been switched off.

Gizmag is among those saying goodbye:

"The passing of Ceefax is also the passing of an age when being able to see headlines of breaking stories and getting the weather forecast on demand was like something out of the future. We now live in a world where the latest information on anything from world events to showbiz trivia is no further away than a smartphone..."

ceefax goodbye

Goodbye Ceefax

Nick Reynolds is Public Accountability Executive, BBC Online

Connected Studio: Sport innovation brief now live

Post categories:

Adrian Woolard | 14:56 UK time, Monday, 22 October 2012

Two participants in a Connected Studio event in MediaCityUK in Salford earlier this year

Two participants in a Connected Studio event in MediaCityUK in Salford earlier this year

So after my last post where I shared a few lines on each of the current pilots, it's back to business as usual for the Connected Studio team.

A number of teams have just been selected to come back for the UX&D Build studio next week. The CBBC judging will take place this week to decide which concepts go forward to piloting. Both were / will be really difficult decisions given range and quality of concepts. We will blog updates about both of these in next few weeks.

This post is to share our big news is that with a month to go before the BBC Sport Creative Studio on November 21 in Salford, the BBC Sport Innovation Brief is now live and ready for you to get your teeth into - the key headlines being:

• With the use of data - how do we make armchair fans even more interested/ informed/ excited/ engaged in major sporting events like the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Wimbledon in 2014?

• Atmosphere is a big motive for audiences attending live sports events but what is the digital equivalent?

• If fans were in control of BBC Sport Online, what would they do with the product?

What the brief also highlights is the broad split in our Audience with 'Sports fans' having a prime interest in one sport, with the 'main eventers' focusing more on our coverage of Wimbledon and the World Cup etc. What they do have in common though is their enjoyment of live content, something that the Sports product team are very keen on us exploring in this Connected Studio.

As ever, the BBC Connected Studio is open to applications from anyone in the field, and is not closed to those who work in the delivery of the BBC Sport digital product. However, we are expecting a lot of interest in this Creative Studio, so when you apply please take extra time to think about the example of your previous work you send us and make it as relevant to the brief and subject as possible.

With all this in mind, have a good read of the brief and if you have not done so before head to our website for further information, dates and FAQs. Then if you want to attend look at the details on how to get involved and send an email.

Adrian Woolard is Programme Lead, BBC Connected Studio

What's On BBC Red Button 20th - 27th October

Post categories:

Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 20 October 2012

What's On Red Button banner



Nish Kumar

Fresh from the Fringe

Jason Cook (writer and star of BBC Two's new sitcom Hebburn) hosts a showcase of the best new acts from the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe. Featuring stand-up from Nish Kumar, Celia Pacquola and Dan Schreiber, character comedy from Kieran Hodgson and music from Jonny & The Baptists and Mae Martin.

This new programme brings the funniest, brightest and most exciting new comedy acts from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe directly to BBC Radio 4 and red button audiences. Acts have been chosen from this year's performers, including those taking part via the Free Fringe schemes.

The programme was recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre, Broadcasting House. The red button show includes irreverent interviews from each act, to introduce them to the viewing public - some for the very first time.

To find out more go to BBC Radio 4 Fresh from the Fringe

Read the rest of this entry

What's On BBC Red Button 13th - 20th October

Post categories:

Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 13 October 2012

What's On Red Button banner


Red Button Changes

On 15th October the video component of BBC Red Button on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media will be reduced from five to one stream, bringing it in line with the BBC's Freeview offer. We are doing this because these services rely entirely on linear broadcast technologies, which are not cost-effective for an interactive service like the red button.

This change in no way signals the demise of BBC Red Button. The BBC is committed to maintaining a vibrant and popular red button service. 20 million people a month press red on the BBC and our ambition is to develop the service and increase the size of our audience.

To find out more about the changes and the BBC's plans for the future of Red Button, which includes Connected Red Button, visit the BBC Internet Blog and the BBC's Red Button help pages

Read the rest of this entry

BBC Future Media Ambassadors

Post categories:

Karl Burnett | 16:05 UK time, Thursday, 11 October 2012

I'm Karl Burnett, HR Director for BBC Future Media, the division responsible for delivering the BBC's digital products.

The Olympics was a huge success for our division. BBC iPlayer smashed records with 200m viewing requests in August and a record number of browsers visited BBC Sport Online during the Games - 55 million (global) and 37 million (UK).

However what we achieved this summer is now the baseline of what we expect from our teams. We want to drive forward and build on the technological legacy we've created. To do this we need to keep on attracting and recruiting top talent.

Despite all the recognition the BBC got for delivering the first truly digital Olympics, our research shows that the name Future Media isn't well known; it's nowhere near as prolific as Google or Microsoft.

Furthermore, we know that 80% of job seekers are passive, they're not actively looking for a new job but like to know what's out there. We need to tap into this pool of candidates who are happy in their present job because often they are the most talented people.

Read the rest of this entry

Connected Studio: the first pilots

Post categories:

Adrian Woolard | 16:41 UK time, Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Connected Studio Ideas Wall

The ideas wall at a recent Connected Studio event

As we enter the autumn and Connected Studio starts its next wave of Studio events, I'd like to bring you up to date with the first 10 concepts that have been selected to be developed into functional pilots. The following were all pitched at the first three Creative Studio events held earlier this year - HPSN, Weather & Travel and CBeebies.

Before we get into the detail I just want to state a little disclaimer that these all are working titles, and in various early stages of development. The concepts are not necessarily going to become future products and their pilots will be testing certain key unknowns - some of which will be going through user testing.

Read the rest of this entry

Introducing BBC iPlayer Radio

Post categories:

Andrew Scott Andrew Scott | 13:11 UK time, Monday, 8 October 2012

Hello, I am Andrew Scott, Head of Radio and Music and Audience Facing Services here at BBC Future Media. Today we announced the launch of BBC iPlayer Radio, previously known as the Radio and Music Product, and I'm delighted to tell you more about this new dedicated home for BBC radio across PC, mobile and tablet.

With iPlayer Radio, BBC radio is available whenever and wherever you want it, thanks to:

  • A new smartphone app, enabling you to wake up to your favourite BBC station and listen on the move
  • New radio station websites across PC, mobile and tablet, offering easy multi-platform access to the full breadth of BBC content
  • Improved catch-up and access to on-demand content, clips, videos and downloads

We have been working on this release for a while now, going through a number of iterations from our first release on about a year ago and our beta this summer, bringing in more features each time. Our Executive Product Manager, Chris Kimber, has been posting updates throughout the process as the product has matured.

Read the rest of this entry

What's On BBC Red Button 6th October - 13th October

Post categories:

Tess Foster Tess Foster | 10:30 UK time, Monday, 8 October 2012

Antiques Roadshow Play Along


Fiona Bruce

Demonstrate your knowledge of antiques by playing along with Antiques Roadshow. Our new valuation game is simple, fun and free to play. Consider each of the objects featured in the programme, select an option before our experts give their valuation and see how many you get right.

Play along with the BBC One programme by pressing red and using the colour buttons on your remote control to select a value.

Read the rest of this entry

Radio and Music Beta Feedback

Post categories:

Chris Kimber Chris Kimber | 13:41 UK time, Thursday, 4 October 2012

In June of this year we released a beta version of the new Radio and Music product. Since then we have received thousands of emails from users via our Feedback page, and even more people have taken the time to fill in surveys to tell us what they like and dislike about the site.

It’s been fascinating seeing people’s reactions to the new station homepages over these 4 months, watching as a number of trends became apparent. This post is a current summary of that feedback and a brief look at what we’ve done as a result.

Radio 4 Homepage screen shot

The Radio 4 beta homepage

"Please cut out the pretty graphics and present the info at a glance."

The key thing users have told us they would like to see improved is navigation to core pages that they are used to accessing on the existing homepages. For example, some users found it hard to get to the station schedule, the programme A-Z list, categories or on-demand programmes they wanted to listen to.

For some Radio 4 users in particular, there was confusion when the initial view of Radio 4 was the “Highlights” section, as opposed to the “On Air Now” space, meaning they found it hard to find the “Listen Live” button. Others found it hard at first to find the podcasts they were looking for.

"I like the new look, but took me a minute or two to find the listen live button."

Interestingly, research found that the most frequent users of the existing Radio 4 site found the new pages least easy to use, whilst those who were less frequent users tended to be more positive about the new designs. This was not surprising, as generally the more familiar a user is with a website, the longer it takes to get used to changes to that site.

"Got to say the beta website looks great. It is a massive improvement on the current website."

On the design front, many people liked the new layout, describing it as “modern”, whilst others felt that the overall impression was of being too dark.

"Generally, I like the difference and I particularly like the boldness and vitality added by the use of the large, simple photos and graphics."

Another key theme was that users frequently wanted to visit a programme page for relevant information, but not actually listen to the programme.

"By clicking, I just started listening to the latest episode, when what I wanted to do was to just discover more about it."

Tablet users, iPads mainly, have told us that they want to listen to live radio streams, and people who visit the sites on their smart phones have said they want to listen to stations including local radio.

We have read through all the emails and survey results, and have already introduced some changes in response. These include:

- Making the main navigation links more visible, and renaming one of these from “Programme Finder” to “Programmes” with a more clearly labelled programme A-Z underneath it.

- Changing the way links to programme work so instead of immediately playing a programme when a user clicks on a link we take you through to the episode page for that programme.

- In the case of Radio 4, we have experimented with defaulting the site to both the Highlights and the On Air Now section, and measured the impact of both. The results (and our statistics) suggest that a significant number of users are looking for the Listen Live button, so we have improved the signposting to that end more clearly.

Screenshot of the Radio 4 Homepage

Signpost to 'listen to what's on air now'

- For national stations such as Radio 2, 3 and 4 we have now enabled live listening on iPad, and have also now fixed the problem we had with playing back on-demand programmes on the same device. We are working hard to do the same for the Nations stations such as Radio Scotland, and English local radio stations, although we don’t yet have a date when this will be resolved.

We are grateful to all of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts. We continue to incorporate your feedback directly into the product, and look forward to your continued support and involvement on our journey to creating a great online radio experience.

Chris Kimber is Executive Product Manager for the Radio and Music product

Changes to BBC Red Button

Post categories:

Tom Williams Tom Williams | 17:05 UK time, Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Four buttons on a TV remote

20 million people use the BBC's red button service every month

I'm Tom Williams, Development Editor for red button and dual screen in BBC Vision.

Over the next few weeks, there will be some changes made to the BBC's red button service. I'd like to explain briefly what these changes are, why they are taking place and what they mean for viewers. I also want to share our exciting plans for how we are reinventing the red button for the future, bringing audiences with internet connected TVs the best BBC content, multiple video streams and interactive services by still pressing red.

What changes are being made and why?

On 15th October the video component of BBC Red Button on Sky, FreeSat and Virgin Media will be reduced from five to one stream, bringing it in line with our Freeview offer. We are doing this because these services rely entirely on linear broadcast technologies, which are not cost-effective for an interactive service like the red button. At the end of this post, I've summarised the background to the decision and provided links to relevant documents which expand on the reasoning behind reducing the number of video streams.

What does this mean for red button?

Firstly, this change in no way signals the demise of BBC Red Button. The BBC is committed to maintaining a vibrant and popular red button service. Twenty million people a month press red on the BBC and our ambition is to develop the service and increase the size of our audience.

BBC Red Button will continue to support a wide range of television and radio output, from big events like Wimbledon and Glastonbury to more niche offerings such as triathlon or BBC Four's archive collections.

This autumn's schedule will be as rich as ever. We'll see the return of the Strictly Come Dancing live commentary and a new play-along game for Antiques Roadshow. BBC Sport output will include Formula One and extended coverage of UK Championship Snooker; there's more live music to look forward to from 1Xtra and Radio 2, and for children we've got a real treat from CBBC's Wolfblood.

Read the rest of this entry

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.