Archives for December 2012

2012 on the Internet blog

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Eliza Kessler Eliza Kessler | 16:00 UK time, Saturday, 22 December 2012

Hi I joined the Internet blog as the content producer in November.

There is a distinct feel of Christmas in the air in our office today and as this will be the last blog post of the year I thought it would be a good place to do a quick 2012 round up, Clive James style (without the jokes).

So here is a look at some of our most popular posts as well as some of the topics that have got our audience talking. It would be impossible to cover everything and sorry to any loyal and enthusiastic blogger who hasn't got a mention here.

First off, no one could avoid the Olympics this year (believe me I tried), including the blog. We had a great series of posts on the BBC's role in the coverage of what was hailed by many as the first 'truly digital Olympics'.

24 streams of Olympics

The Story of the Digital Olympics by Cait O'Riordan attracted an audience of 27, 480 users to date. For me one of the key insights gleaned from this post is the incredible speed with which users are able to adapt to new technology and tools to get the maximum personal enjoyment out of the content that appeals to them:

Audiences quickly grew accustomed to being able to switch between up to 24 streams. In between the peaks of Team GB medal moments, our data clearly shows people moving across streams to check out a whole host of different events. For example, around 6pm on Saturday 4th, audiences finished watching GB Gold in Women's Team Pursuit Cycling on stream 7 to take a look at the end of Brazil v Honduras in the football on stream 6, before switching back to stream 7 as the cycling action kicked off again.

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What's on BBC Red Button 22 December-5 January

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Sorcha Clifford Sorcha Clifford | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 22 December 2012

What's On Red Button banner

It's the last Red Button blog of the year - but with Christmas and New Year nearly upon us it's also one of the biggest.

We've a bumper line-up to keep you entertained over the next fortnight including a glittering array of sporting highlights from the past year, Karen Hardy's expert analysis of the Strictly Come Dancing final and special mini-episodes of Doctor Who and EastEnders. There's also Christmas fun for kids from CBBC, highlights from Radio 1's spectacular Hackney Weekend and the triumphant return of the Antiques Roadshow play-along quiz - not to mention a preview of next year's big shows on BBC One.

Here's a look at what's in store - and if you want to stay updated on Red Button throughout the festive season, be sure to follow us on Twitter or visit

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BBC Learning Indie Commissioning Event

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Chris Sizemore Chris Sizemore | 12:30 UK time, Thursday, 20 December 2012

Hi, I'm Chris Sizemore executive editor for the BBC's Knowledge & Learning product. Alongside Ian Myatt, head of product for Knowledge & Learning, I'm privileged to be responsible for the BBC's digital output around the factual and educational genres.

In November BBC Learning held its annual Indie Commissioning meeting at MediaCityUK in Salford. This event gives BBC Learning a chance to share our plans for the coming year with partners and indies.

We also presented an update on the BBC's new Knowledge & Learning online product, discussing both the progress we're making and the strategy behind the product.

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User Experience and Design Connected Studio

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Yasser Rashid Yasser Rashid | 09:30 UK time, Thursday, 20 December 2012

Hi I'm Yasser and until recently I was the head of User Experience and Design for TV & iPlayer, Radio & Music. Back in October I took part as a judge for the BBC User Experience and Design Connected Studio.

BBC People presented by Faith Mowbray at the BBC Connected Studio

The brief for the event was focused around One Service. We want to create experiences and connections across the BBC portfolio so that whichever of the ten BBC products you are using it's possible to move between them seamlessly through features and interactions.

It's a brief that conveys the role of User Experience and Design at the BBC. The team work right across the BBC portfolio ensuring that whatever product we are working in we are reflecting the Global Experience Language (GEL) which informs the way our products look and behave.

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Mr Stink in 3D

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Andy Quested Andy Quested | 10:30 UK time, Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Just for any new readers, I am head of technology for BBC HD & 3D and this is an update on the next phase of the BBC 3D trial. We have now moved from sport, music and animation to drama!

Mr Stink is a TV adaptation of the book by David Walliams. I won't give anything away in the post for those who love the book and for those who have never heard of it - just watch!

In this post I want to give you an overview of some the technology and processes used during the making of Mr Stink with comments from a few of the people involved.

Mr Stink transmits in 2D on BBC One & BBC One HD on Sunday 23 December at 6.30 and is repeated on Boxing Day at 12.40. The 3D transmission is on BBC HD on Sunday 23 December at 6.30 and shortly after on BBC iPlayer for seven days

Mr Stink (Hugh Bonneville) and Chloe (Nell Toger-Free) in Mr Stink

Mr Stink is the first programme we've done during the trial where the 2D and 3D versions were shot at the same time with the 2D being taken from one of the 3D cameras. The cameras were mounted on mirror rigs and for those interested in the details, these were a 3ality Technica Atom and a P+S TECHNIK Freestyle rig, each fitted with two RED Epic cameras and Angenieux Optimo matched lenses.

This is what Philipp Blaubach, the director of photography (DoP) working on Mr Stink, thought of idea to shoot in 3D:

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Torch Relay: Building the site

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Mike Brown | 10:00 UK time, Tuesday, 18 December 2012

My name is Mike Brown. I was the technical architect on the BBC's Torch Relay website.

Alongside my colleague Matthew Clark I was lucky enough to have the role leading the technical delivery.

If you can think back to the beginning of the 'summer', before the huge success of the Olympic and Paralympic games, you might remember the Torch Relay.

Back in mid-May thousands of people were chosen to run a short distance with the Olympic Flame and the country was temporarily gripped by the spectacle via #bbctorchcam.

The Torch Relay site

My colleague Michael Burnett, product lead for the Torch Relay, published this blog at the time to explain some of the features we'd made available as part of the site.

The Torch relay played an important role in the delivery of the 2012 Olympic website and it wasn't by accident that it used the same video delivery pipeline, giving us critical information on performance and editorial workflow.

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What's on BBC Red Button 15-22 December

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Sorcha Clifford Sorcha Clifford | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 15 December 2012

What's On Red Button banner

We've got lots going on this week, including extensive coverage of the biggest-ever Sports Personality of the Year ceremony, a preview of this year's Christmas Doctor Who episode and festive treats for kids from CBeebies and CBBC. Throw in some top-notch sporting action, including live NFL and World Cup dressage, as well as a festive bonus for Casualty fans, and you've got the makings of an outstanding week on Red Button.

Here's a look at what's in store - and if you want to stay updated on Red Button throughout the week, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

Sports Personality of the Year 2012

Clare Balding, Gary Lineker and Sue Barker

Clare Balding, Gary Lineker and Sue Barker host this year's ceremony

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BBC iPlayer Radio: two months on

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Chris Kimber Chris Kimber | 12:30 UK time, Thursday, 13 December 2012

Hi, I'm the Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer Radio.

The last two months have been exciting for BBC Radio on digital platforms: in October we launched BBC iPlayer Radio, bringing together all of the BBC's English language radio stations (57 of them!) into one coherent digital product across desktop, tablet and mobile.

We launched our first smartphone application for iOS devices, which has now been downloaded over one million times, easily surpassing our expectations.

We continue to work hard on releasing an app for Android devices which will offer a great experience, and that continues to be our number one priority. More on the mobile app on my colleague James Simcock's blog post.

BBC iPlayer Radio across all platforms now reaches around 6 million UK unique browsers per week, breaking all previous records, which is 30% up compared to October 2011. We are seeing a significant increase (almost one fifth, 18%) in traffic to the product homepage, which receives over a million unique browsers per week, and which in turn is sending higher numbers of people to the individual station sites: Radio 2 saw a 31% increase between September and November, whilst Radio 4 saw a 9% increase.

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Android: An update

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Dave Price Dave Price | 18:00 UK time, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The BBC launched the BBC Media Player for Android nearly three months ago. Since then it has been downloaded to more than one million Android phones and tablets.

In this short period of time we've witnessed a dramatic change in the Android platform and in BBC usage on the platform.

When we launched, seven inch Android tablets weren't driving significant usage. Fast forward three months and the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 are now both firmly in the top five Android devices for BBC iPlayer and the BBC Media Player.

The Android platform is extremely important to the BBC and our audience and engineering for it requires an ongoing commitment.

To that end I have a significant engineering team working on both the Android media playback experience and BBC iPlayer application on Android devices.

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New TV Homepage

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Matt Humphreys Matt Humphreys | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I'm Matt Humphreys and I work in the TV & iPlayer editorial team. Part of my role is to work with the TV channel teams and programme makers in BBC Vision to develop curated offerings of our programmes and additional online content.

Today marks the next phase in the development of the TV site across web, mobile and tablet following the re-launch of our TV channel sites earlier in the year.

The TV homepage is regularly accessed by in excess of 800,000 browsers on a weekly basis and offers routes into online TV content beyond the core catch-up service on BBC iPlayer, showcasing exclusive short form video, archive programmes and blogs.

New TV hompeage

As with our channel sites, the new pages that make up the TV site are responsively designed, delivering a consistent experience across the different screens, including the live streams of all our broadcast TV channels.

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Fifteen years of BBC Online

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Ralph Rivera Ralph Rivera | 09:50 UK time, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

This week marks an important anniversary for the BBC, online. Fifteen years ago first went live to the public and BBC Online was born.

I'm Ralph Rivera the Director of Future Media at the BBC and I wanted to look back at history of the BBC's websites and tell you a bit more about what this anniversary means to us.

Innovation is at the heart of the BBC and has been since its inception. From when the BBC opened its first radio station in 1922 and launched the world's first regular television service in 1936 few could have imagined just what impact broadcasting would make on our everyday lives.

Whether it's stereo FM, the BBC online, digital TV, HDTV, or 3DTV innovation has driven the BBC from the start. A few of my colleagues and I tried to sum up how we feel about innovation here at the BBC in the following video.

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What's on BBC Red Button 8 - 15 December

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Sorcha Clifford Sorcha Clifford | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 8 December 2012

What's On Red Button banner

It's been an exciting week for us here on the Red Button. As well as bringing you a raft of great new specials, we've also taken our first step into the future with the launch of the BBC's Connected Red Button. This reinvented version of our service brings together TV, radio and online with one, simple press of a red button. It's the start of the things to come - find out more on this blog from the team behind it.

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Responsive mobile site for BBC Sport

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Lucie Mclean Lucie Mclean | 10:45 UK time, Thursday, 6 December 2012

Hello I'm Lucie Mclean, executive product manager in BBC Future Media and responsible for BBC Sport services on mobile devices.

Back in June I wrote on this blog about work my team in Salford had done to redesign the mobile sport homepage ahead of the summer of sport.

I'm pleased to announce that we've now reworked the most popular sections of the mobile sport website too and have relaunched it on a new url -

Hundreds of different mobile phones and tablets visit our mobile and desktop website every day and these in turn have a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions.

The range of devices and their capabilities is constantly changing. You might also have noticed that many of the latest handsets have larger screens than other popular models and there's a growing range of smaller tablet devices too.

The homepage on a variety of devices

Rather than optimise the mobile sport site for one screen size or device type we've built it responsively so that it adapts and displays the content in a way which makes the most of the device's screen size.

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Responsive Design on BBC Indonesia mobile site

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Phil Buckley Phil Buckley | 17:02 UK time, Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hello, I'm Phil Buckley, Executive Product Manager for Future Media News World Service, and I lead the technical and delivery teams there.

I'm very proud that today we have released a new mobile site for BBC Indonesia in Responsive Design.

New look BBC Indonesia mobile site

As far as I can find this is the world's first responsive website in an Asian language and one of the very first non-English responsive sites.

The Head of the News Product Chris Russell has blogged in detail about Responsive Design, a technology which tests your screen size and connection speed and then gives you the best possible experience. This has already been adopted on our English language mobile News site and the new BBC Indonesia site is on the same codebase.

This technology is particularly well suited to the World Service sites. More than half the visitors to BBC Indonesia come on a mobile phone and they come using an explosion of different handsets: last week alone there were more than 1,200 different phones using the site.

These ranged from the newest Apple smartphones to some Nokia feature phones with local manufacturers heavily represented including the magnificently-named Hipstreet HS-7DTB6 and the rather more straight-laced Moral N01.

In the olden days every single one of these would have seen our standard mobile view:

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New Buy Online module

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Dan Taylor Dan Taylor | 10:00 UK time, Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I'm Dan Taylor, Executive Editor for TV and iPlayer and part of my job is ensuring the TV programmes the BBC commissions and produces are as discoverable as possible online.

As well as giving information about when our programmes are broadcast on BBC TV and Radio and when they are available in BBC iPlayer we also want to let users know when they are available to buy or access on a commercial basis.

The new Buy Online module

We therefore provide a module on our programme pages which shows the commercial availability of that programme and links through to product pages which list the various formats and suppliers.

Last October Roly Keating wrote about improvements to BBC Online's Buyer's Guide/Commercial Availability feature on the About the BBC blog.

Today I'm updating on further improvements we've recently made to the feature.

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Connected Red Button Launch

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Matt Coulson | 12:00 UK time, Tuesday, 4 December 2012

I'm Matt Coulson, Executive Product Manager for Red Button in BBC TV and Mobile Platforms.

Today we are launching the new BBC Connected Red Button on the Virgin TiVo service with plans to roll out the service to a range of connected TVs and operators in 2013.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Connected Red Button video

Connected Red Button brings TV, radio and BBC online together in the simplest way possible. (See the press release for more details.)

The service is presented in a feature rich yet powerfully simple experience that is suitable for just about anyone.

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Start-ups, digital media trends and the BBC

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Cyrus Saihan Cyrus Saihan | 10:00 UK time, Monday, 3 December 2012

Hi my name is Cyrus Saihan and I work as Head of Business Development in the Future Media division of the BBC.

In Business Development we work closely with a range of companies in the digital media and technology space to ensure that the BBC has a high quality presence on consumer devices (TV / mobile / tablet / desktop) and that we are working with third parties to help keep the BBC's digital services as innovative as possible.

Whilst we work closely with many large companies headquartered in the USA and South East Asia, the UK is increasingly becoming a hot-bed of digital innovation.

One of the BBC's six public purposes is "delivering to the public the benefit of emerging communications, technologies and services".

As digital media continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace it is important that the BBC keeps up to date with the latest technologies and trends and works with the industry to take advantage of the exciting new advances out there.

We recently reached the 90th anniversary of the first transmission of BBC Radio.

It is interesting to note that it took nearly 38 years for radio to reach an audience of 50 million but it only took Facebook around 2.5 years to reach 50 million subscribers - just one indicator of how technological change is advancing at such a rapid rate.

BBC audience growth

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What's on BBC Red Button 1 - 8 December

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Sorcha Clifford Sorcha Clifford | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 1 December 2012

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BBC Asian Network's highlights of 2012


Madhuri Dixit is among the stars to feature in the Asian Network highlights

Watch Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan plus a whole host of stars as BBC Asian Network takes a look back at an action-packed 2012.

We've got special live music performances and exclusive footage of Bollywood celebrities who joined us during this exciting year.

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