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Mark Barlex | 13:02 UK time, Wednesday, 25 July 2007

For the past year, the BBC has been trialling video podcasts - or vodcasts as they've become known. You may have downloaded - and hopefully enjoyed - offerings from programmes like Newsnight, Breakfast and the Ten O'Clock News.

As planned, that trial finishes at the end of July, and those services will disappear while the BBC assesses the project. Some may come back later in the year while others may not. We need to be sure that products offer real value for the audience before we launch them back onto the market.

The trial itself has been an interesting process and I think the teams behind the vodcasts have learned a great deal from it. Some offerings have really taken off. Some have been slower to gain a following, although generally, we've had a good response from the audience.

If you used the services, thanks. We hope you enjoyed them and found them useful.


  • 1.
  • At 02:08 PM on 25 Jul 2007,
  • Anthony wrote:

Is this related to The Now Show not being available as a podcast on Radio 4 either?

Why, when everyone is embracing this are you scaling back?

Also it sounds like your explanation is a clear indicator that video services will not come back at all.

This is poor. I'm sorry you got lumbered with the task of explaining it Mark!

  • 2.
  • At 05:45 PM on 25 Jul 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

Will the PMQ's podcast continue?

  • 3.
  • At 07:48 PM on 25 Jul 2007,
  • Sue Simons wrote:

Does this also apply to watching the latest edition of a programme, 'on demand?

It would be a shame to lose the vodcasts. The internet is going all video, and it seems strange for the BBC to start pulling out.

@Sue - no, he's just talking about the RSS feeds for video downloads of specially edited news shows.

I really hope this isn't the end for StoryFix! This worked particularly well on my Sony PSP and could be relied on to fill a spare moment.

I had planned to add some of the other feeds to my PSP and hopefully download them from wifi points whilst on holiday - but annoyingly it seems that this facility will end just as the iPlayer moves up a gear.

Whilst in the UK and with many methods of getting BBC News, I've not really had much desire to watch the abridged news shows or the highlights shows.

Some of them crop up on the schedules at odd hours, eg Week On Newsnight on late night News 24. Will these mini programmes still be produced after the video podcast trial ends (and made available on iPlayer)?

I think in essence what I'm not clear on is this - Was the "test project" primarily the production of short content or the method of dissemination?

  • 6.
  • At 03:57 AM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • John wrote:

Please bring them back. They are now a regular feature in my week, and I'm sure in alot of other peoples as well. Consider it addictive advertising for those of us in the Americas who subscribe to, or buy your products.

And uncancel STORYFix. It even pwned TikiBar.

This seems like a common way for the BBC to now introduce new offerings. (E.g. how long has the iplayer/MyBBCPlayer/imp been in production, whilst rivals have implemented and properly launched similar products?)

It really isn't clever to create a market for something and then withdraw it and possibly re-introduce it later (when, obviously, an audience will need to be re-established for it).

As I understand it, soon virtually all the video and audio content will be removed from the BBC website in favour of the new iPlayer. That means all of us who currently enjoy this content using Linux, Mac OS or even Windows Vista will no longer be able to do so.

I'm sure you will still be able to download podcasts, as long as you have a Microsoft-compatible device, and you only want to listen to the programme for up to a week after you download it (after which it will be deleted).

It seems only video podcasts are suspended, but audio will still carry on?

PLEASE keep going with the video podcasts! I religiously watch Newsnight, and think Storyfix rocks! I also enjoy the PMQs, and occasionally watch Panorama.

I have a 90 minute commute, and would much rather enjoy BBC content on my video iPod rather than crappy free newspapers.

You'd be amazed at how often I do NOT carry my computer with me on the train. iPlayer doesn't work on my Mac, and it doesn't provide portable content.

Forget about the iPlayer - allow me to take content where - and when - I want it!

  • 10.
  • At 03:09 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Can I add another voice to the choir - please keep the podcasts going! I don't have an iPod, but I used to listen to the Now Show, and I'm very disappointed that it was cancelled.

  • 11.
  • At 04:53 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Sue Simons wrote:

Hi Paul (post no. 6) - thanks - appreciate your answer. I don't use podcasts, as I can't access them from outside the UK. But if it helps, I definitely add my voice of support to continue this option.

  • 12.
  • At 03:43 AM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Danny Walker wrote:

I too am an avid fan of the video podcasts: I live in New Zealand now, and my only real way to get my politics fix was by watching the Question Time video podcast on my way to work in the morning! Please bring it back!

-=danny walker=-

NO! Please no! I love Newsnight and, being in the US, this is my only chance to see it! Newsnight, PMQs, Ten O'Clock News, Question Time... I love them all.

The Now Show was canceled? Oh man, not good.

This is not shaping out to be a good week.

  • 14.
  • At 06:06 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • elliot wrote:

Is it coincidence that the podcasts get pulled just as the iplayer is launched? If not then its a bit silly to get rid of VOD services that everybody can view, and replace them with something that can be viewed only by people using an OS that is (a) rubbish and (b) obsolete.

I hope you will reconsider suspending videopodcasts until you figure things out.

It should be possible to continue them and offer improved versions later (which will work on all computers and with no DRM - it is news after all which should be available to everyone).

At the very least, keep the feeds going when there is important breaking news or exclusive stories.

  • 16.
  • At 06:23 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • RJ Moorhouse wrote:

As a Canadian who does not get to see Newsnight on the BBC World Service, your Newsnight vidcasts have been a regular staple for my commute.

I do hope that, after the necessary review, the Beeb will again offer us their brilliant selection of high-quality video podcasts.


  • 17.
  • At 07:08 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • rob wrote:

Since I moved to Guatemala, I have been watching the Newsnight podcasts regularly to keep in touch with life back home and in the world at large.

Please bring them back as soon as possible.

  • 18.
  • At 07:16 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • John Thompson wrote:

Just read the Newsnight email and I'm shocked, shocked! that you are removing one of my favourite weekly listening highlights. (Is Jeremy aware of this?) As an expat, I pod many BBC programmes and along with (somewhat limited) internet access, I'm regularly brought up to date with events from a BBC/Brit perspective. With a four hour difference in time, most programmes are broadcast outside of a convenient time here, so I value the time-shift that podcasting provides. Please
re-consider the decision,


John Thompson

  • 19.
  • At 07:17 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Rita Elliott wrote:

As a crappy older woman, I am glad the thing has been scrapped. The amount of possiblities offered by the BBC is overwhelming and confusing

All I want is facts written in black on white

  • 20.
  • At 07:22 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Hilary Johnson wrote:

I am joining the chorus of protest. Have no idea what an iplayer is, but I know that even the latest MacBook and a high-speed connection can't display the program from your Web site properly. And I don't carry my laptop around, anyway.

I want my video podcast!

I would agree with poster Kevin Judson, who pointed out that it "really isn't clever to create a market for something and then withdraw it."

  • 21.
  • At 11:48 AM on 28 Jul 2007,
  • Susan van Scoyco wrote:

I live in the UK and download podcasts (audio/radio only) for daily listening and they have become part of my commute.

Again - I have a mac and so cannot view the videos on demand on line and I don't want to download such huge files. Neither do I want to carry a computer with me wherever I go.

So long live radio and long live audio podcasts. It seems very short sighted of the BBC to again alienate their radio audiences.

I love the Breakfast podcast and have actually made it to work on time for the past 12 months thanks to it.

However, I was wondering how exactly you work out the impact or appeal of the vodcasts. From comments like these? From surveys? From stats? It seems like a near impossible thing to do, or at least a potentially never-ending task.

  • 23.
  • At 01:22 PM on 28 Jul 2007,
  • Karin Edwards wrote:

Maybe you could hold a phone-in campaign to bring back the video podcasts... Oh, wait, phone-in votes have been cancelled too.

Well, could some BBC executive at least offer us an apology for getting us all hooked on something so convenient and technology problem-free (unlike iPlayer which crashes my Windows machine and requires that I be chained to broadband), then crudely forcing us to give it all up cold turkey?

Perhaps I'm being cycnical, but I noticed that the final vodcasts were all made available of Friday (that's a first). Were all staff involved in the trials given some sort of pink-slip, suggesting this is a budget cutting exercise? Will we have to pay for vodcasts when and if they return?


  • 24.
  • At 04:51 PM on 28 Jul 2007,
  • GUY BAYLEY wrote:

The loss of the Newsnight podcast is very disappointing.

  • 25.
  • At 05:14 PM on 28 Jul 2007,
  • John Lumgair wrote:

I'm sad to seem the podcasts go, it is one of the few bits of BBC content that actually worked!

  • 26.
  • At 12:15 AM on 29 Jul 2007,
  • Stef wrote:

I adore the Breakfast Takeaway, and as an American, it is important to get a global take on the news prior to the daily onslaugt of US centered news. All in a morning newscast on my little ipod that was simple to take to the gym and enjoy! Please bring it back! Please! Looking forward to the return. Hope the trial went well and the period of "evaluation" is short.

  • 27.
  • At 08:12 PM on 29 Jul 2007,
  • Sheila Cook wrote:

I have really enjoyed your wide variety of podcasts, both video and audio. It enabled me to watch or listen to them when I was on call, on my one, at my work during the night in a hospital lab. It also made train and bus journeys more enjoyable.
I hope you do decide to bring them back, and even provide more of them.
Sheila Cook

Makes me wonder why this new iPlayer thing isn't using Quicktime instead of Windows Media Player.
.mov is the defacto format for video podcasts, and the DRM works on Windows and Mac!

TV catchup service and podcasts. Two birds, one stone.

This is so frustrating. I frequently listen to the Newsnight podcast and have altered my viewing habits around the new services. To remove them now seems like a massive step backwards.

I'd viewed the speed that the BBC have embraced Podcasts both on FiveLive and VOD as an indication that a public service can embrace change and new technology.

The release of a propiatory player and the removal of new services makes me think again.

In my view, you can't pretend that new technologies don't exist because you're struggling to integrate them into your organisation!

  • 30.
  • At 01:12 PM on 30 Jul 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I too am finding now that the vodcasts and podcasts are over I have a gap in my weekly viewing... Here's hoping the Newsnight week in review comes back... And soon!

  • 31.
  • At 06:23 PM on 30 Jul 2007,
  • Kaf wrote:

I'm sure that I can't be the only Brit abroad for whom vodcasts like Newsnight, Panorama, and This Week are important weekly fixes.

  • 32.
  • At 10:05 PM on 31 Jul 2007,
  • adele wrote:

The Breakfast podcasts were great to find out what was basically going on while on the tube in the morning (when I could hear them over the din and when I had fast forwarded through the inevitable NHS story in the first three minutes).

I hope the BBC brings podcasts back and really starts to experiment with them - they can be great for driving web traffic too.

  • 33.
  • At 02:00 AM on 02 Aug 2007,
  • Mark Ridley wrote:

I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed both Newsnight and Storyfix vodcasts. Storyfix in particular was an amusing and cleverly executed piece of work and I looked forward to my weekly 'fix'! PLEASE bring it back......and can have too much 'evaluation' :-)

  • 34.
  • At 11:07 PM on 02 Aug 2007,
  • Neil Cochrane wrote:

This is really terrible news, I feel quite let down. I will especially miss the Newsnight weekly videocast. No better way to make a train ride or plane ride go quicker - something the iPlayer won't be able to do.
Also isn't there a way to assess the podcast trial programme while actually keeping the podcasts going? Pity to let the audience you've built up over the last year evaporate.

  • 35.
  • At 11:13 PM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

This is devastating news! I've been really busy and so have just caught up and seen there are no more downloading . I've just seen that the year trial period is over! Please please please bring them back soon. I've really enjoyed catching up on the both newsnight and best of the ten on my PDA when I have time spare.

  • 36.
  • At 01:44 AM on 22 Aug 2007,
  • Laura wrote:

It was such a shame... I had just brought myself into the 21st Century by purchasing a multimedia player, and suddenly my most downloaded items are taken away! Breakfast and STORYFix, in particular, I will miss... the latter was a work of genius and actually garners more respect for the presenters involved, showing us that even the more straight-laced ones have a funny side. Emily Maitliss deserves a comedy award for her deadpan delivery.

Please bring it - and the rest of the vodcasts - back!!

  • 37.
  • At 09:18 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Simkins wrote:

Please bring back the video podcasts. I thought they were just suspended for the summer or something, until I read this. Surely it doesn't cost the BBC that much? The programmes are ready made anyway. Please keep them up alongside the iPlayer. Or at least make sure the iPlayer is available in different countries, and programmes which used to be podcasted can be kept permanently.

  • 38.
  • At 09:28 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Simkins wrote:

Please bring back the video podcasts. I thought they were just suspended for the summer or something, until I read this. Surely it doesn't cost the BBC that much? The programmes are ready made anyway. Please keep them up alongside the iPlayer. Or at least make sure the iPlayer is available in different countries, and programmes which used to be podcasted can be kept permanently.

  • 39.
  • At 03:31 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Luke wrote:

Please bring back PMQ on video podcast!!! It must surely be one of the highest priorities for the BBC to make such high-level debate available to the British public.

This is one of the most useful and interesting video podcasts I've ever found, and it means I get to actually watch PMQs.

Who can possibly watch it live on a Wed afternoon - most of us are at work!

(I'm prepared to swap one CBeebies or half a BBC3 for it).

  • 40.
  • At 12:15 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Susan wrote:

Let me echo everyone else, please bring the PMQ podcast back! I look forward to seeing it on my iTunes each week and I watch it regularly.

  • 41.
  • At 07:34 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Tim Thomas wrote:

Please keep the PMQ's podcast!

  • 42.
  • At 04:29 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

The PMQs & Question Time vodcasts are superb and are ideal to watch on iPod when travelling. Why on earth have you stopped this??!?!?!?

  • 43.
  • At 08:18 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • helena wrote:

I am sorely missing subscribing to the PMQs vodcast. The bitesize mpegs were a perfect length for the tube journey, and automatically updated itself ready to be watched. I think the vodcasts were a perfect way to incite young people's interest in politics.

  • 44.
  • At 05:23 AM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • Crying in Missouri wrote:

PMQ's are such a nice break from US politics. Please bring them back! My silly college internet doesn't handle streaming videos too well.

Crying in Missouri

  • 45.
  • At 01:05 PM on 17 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Harris wrote:

Please may we have the PMQ video podcast back. It was much easier to download than anything lasting 1/2 and hour will be from the iPlayer system, and the quality of the podcast version was fine.

  • 46.
  • At 11:36 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

From the comments here, it would seem right to conclude that the podcast trial has been a huge success, and right to reinstate certain of these essential streams. Particularly PMQs and Question Time please.

Without them democracy suffers.

Thank you.

  • 47.
  • At 11:54 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mike Hammond wrote:

What is the point of putting on a comments section when there is no feedback from the BBC, even when everyone is in agreement??!!

I too am missing PMQ's and wish we could still get hold of it.

  • 48.
  • At 05:28 PM on 24 Oct 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

I'm personally gutted that that Daily Politics and PMQs is 'at the end of its trial period.' I hope to god it comes back, for the sake of those of us who can't be home to watch it at 12pm on a Wednesday afternoon (most of us) and for Brits living abroad. Was the 'trial period' successful or not? If it was, why isn't it continuing right now? and if it wasn't, were's the explanation for why it's been unsuccessful? I pay for this!!

  • 49.
  • At 07:03 PM on 21 Nov 2007,
  • Darren Megarry wrote:

Is anyone at the BBC reading these posts? Please, please, please bring back PMQ's already!!!

  • 50.
  • At 01:49 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Zach wrote:

Please bring back PMQ's!!!
As an American, I get very little British politics, and C-SPAN can put anyone to sleep. I have been watching PMQ's every Wednesday morning for the past year. I enjoy the other programmes on video podcast, and need to have my educational comedy back.

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