Executive Product Manager, Children's
We've just launched CBBC Buzz - a super exciting new app for 8-12 year olds, packed full of ultra short-form content and creative challenges for kids to join in with.
Buzz is the first project to come out of a new BBC Children's strategy known as 'Kids 2020' following the biggest investment in children's content and services in a generation. Our audience is changing and a key objective of CBBC Buzz is to reach out to new users as well as satisfying our loyal CBBC fanbase.
One of the main things we’ve learned about this age group is that their likes and dislikes are as diverse as anybody else’s. Buzz recognises this by featuring the best of the BBC for kids alongside CBBC’s most loved shows. So as well as a hot new dance move to try from The Next Step or a Danger Mouse drawing challenge, you’ll also find amazing facts from The Blue Planet or a quiz about Strictly.
On top of this, our editorial team will be carefully curating the best of the internet. Social media can be full of hilarious, inspiring and important content for kids but often in a context that’s inappropriate for under 13s. By selecting some of the best bits and making them relevant to our users, we hope Buzz will feel exciting and fresh, whilst reflecting what’s happening in the real world.
As well as diverse, the content and challenges on CBBC Buzz will be plentiful and timely. We’re aiming to publish around 40 things to watch and do each day according to a schedule that’s focussed around time of day. We want Buzz to be in tune with our users’ daily lives, whether they’re in need of some post-school chill or saturday morning hype.
Our editorial strategy is ‘Love, Laugh & Learn’ and ‘Buzzers’ will find educational content delivered alongside favourite shows and funny gifs in a way that’s snackable and entertaining.
Once we identified the experience we wanted to create with Buzz, we needed to work out how to deliver it in a product that felt natural to this savvy group of digital natives. We wanted to accommodate a range of different media formats to give editors the freedom to create fast and frequent content, but we didn’t want a mismatched user interface that would result in a confusing experience. The main content feed on CBBC Buzz houses vertical, square or any shape content in a way that can be completely immersive or easily swiped through.
Users can favourite content (pretty essential when you're publishing 40 new things per day), react with a range of CBBC emojis or most importantly get involved in the action.
Buzz is a highly participatory experience and we’ve built a range of creative tools that allow users to engage with our constant stream of games and challenges. Our drawing, stickering and text tools are a great way for users to express themselves and an easy way to get involved.
Users can also take part in more adventurous challenges by uploading photos and videos. And many of these creations will end up on the CBBC channel. The Be On A Show page on our CBBC website is consistently one of our most popular webpages. With Buzz, getting on CBBC is no longer reserved for a lucky few but open to everybody, every day.
Photos and videos can be combined with text, drawings and stickers meaning the options for creative challenges are endless. We’ll soon be launching extra features such as lip sync, karaoke and overdub which will allow users to try out their dream job of football commentating or have a go at miming their own meme.
If kids (or their parents) don’t want to upload to CBBC Buzz, they can still share in the fun by using all of these tools but saving their creations to their devices to share with their friends and family offline.
We’ve taken a number of steps to create a positive community and keep kids safe when they participate with CBBC Buzz. Firstly, all users must seek permission from their parent before they can post anything to the app. Parents are then given a range of approval options which allow them to decide how involved they want to be with their child’s activity. Parents can choose to pre-approve everything their child submits (via email) or select to give more freedom over certain content types.
Every piece of user generated content is pre-moderated by a highly specialised team of moderators who are trained specifically in child safeguarding issues. The app will also contain regular updates from BBC’s Own It which empowers young people to be the boss of their online lives.
We’ve launched v1 of Buzz today but we hope we’ve built a flexible product that will allow us to change with our users on a daily basis. We’ve learned a lot about our audience but if there’s one thing our research has told us, it’s that they’ll continue to surprise us. We’re looking forward to it.