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Click and Digital Planet merge

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Steve Titherington | 14:15 UK time, Tuesday, 29 March 2011

At the World Service we are changing the science programmes. Budget restraints mean that we have to cut them in duration and end the main documentary strand, but at the same time keeping the daily slots really prominent in our output.

Click logo


We are also changing the way we make them so they have space to help shape the day's news agenda. Our audience is mostly young - keen to understand the world and question why we live the way we do. The range of science we offer from pure research to practical application, we hope works for all our audiences around the world. From today, Digital Planet is renamed Click - matching its sister programme on World TV. They remain separate programmes, separate presenters and in many ways their own individual take on technology.

So why bother? Well I guess we are trying to make a statement about the way we work and what we offer across radio and television and that it's the "big picture" we offer. The television programme is a great way to see just what technology does, Click on the radio remains a great place to talk about the implications of this technology.

As presenter Gareth Mitchell wrote:

"The focus of the new show will be the same - reporting the human side of technology from around the world, just as we always have."

It doesn't mean radio can't do what TV does, or TV can't do what radio does, but letting our audience know that both are doing it in a complimentary way seems like a good thing.

You already would have seen or heard the different presenters appearing on the radio and TV programmes and that will continue. It's already easier to access audio and video on the main Click site.

At the heart of the idea is recognising, especially around technology and the web, that there are real chances for a multi-media experience building on what TV and radio do best. So the radio programme increasingly will be broadcast/recorded live with web chat integrated with the programme as it unfolds.

There's already been some discussion and debate about the name change online and that will continue I'm sure. Please give it time to settle in and let me know what you think.

Steve Titherington is senior commissioning editor for BBC Global News


  • Comment number 1.

    You could increase output of useful and interesting science programmes by cutting down on the tedious religious programming.

  • Comment number 2.

    You get a thumbs up from me, it makes sense. I've been following Click for well over a year now, and currently playing catch up with the Digital Planet podcasts, in my opinion there is very little difference between the two, except the name. The reason why i put off listening to Digital Planet was because i thought it would cover the same news as Click. This isn't the case like you say, Click provides me with what's the latest in technology and how it works, etc. and Digital Planet provides me with good insight, and decent debate. Thus, knowing this i now wouldn't mind if Click radio covered the same topics in the same week as Click TV, because it would cater for both my needs. Though, i wouldn't want this to happen every week, it will still be good to vary topics.

    As for Anna's comment 'tedious religious programming', the BBC caters for all. I'm not religous, but the BBC has not right to be biased, people of all backgrounds and beliefs pay the licence fee.

  • Comment number 3.

    The way the World Service has been dismantled is a very sad story indeed. Not that it came unexpected, given the steadily growing amount of rousing leader-spam and all the emphasis on World Have Your Say (always sounding like a football match).
    Over the years I learned a lot from BBC World Service Science programs. Thank you for that. This 'merger' seems to hide a tragic development.

  • Comment number 4.

    Keep up the good job, but watch out for the subtle spelling pitfall: ''both [TV and radio] are doing it in a complimentary way'' should probably read ''complementary'', as the two presumably complement each other, rather than flatter each other or the audience (very kind of you anyway!)

  • Comment number 5.

    The integration of the two shows makes sense in the long term, providing they keep their distinct format differences so they complement rather than compete. Click on TV is best as showing and explaining technology, click on the radio is better at analysing trends and examining what could happen next. The weakest part of everything at the moment is the website. This needs a serious rewrite - and fast. Unless you've kept old links, we're losing site of valuable stuff very quickly. So you have great content, but lousy curation!

  • Comment number 6.

    On Click you say: "It's already easier to access audio and video on the main Click site"."

    Audio I would say is as easily accessible now as it was before (once you've worked out that 'Previous episodes' refers to the radio programme). Video though is a different matter, at for those outside the UK. There is an archive of programmes to watch again on iPlayer but that's only available if you're in the UK. There used to be a video archive of past programmes on the website which we could all watch it who where elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately it has now been removed. Why? And can it be brought back?

  • Comment number 7.

    So what *length* is the current TV episode now then?

    All I can find is an 12 minute heavily cut-down snapshot programme online??
    (it's now Thursday 31 March 2011, and have not seen any *full* 24 minute version appear online since the original Sat 26 March 2011 broadcast date).

    Info please... ?

  • Comment number 8.

    The name change sounds like another case of change for changes sake. How does changing the name but not the content save money? Please do not mess with Digital Planet, it did not complement Click before, neither did it need to. Click TV is more light hearted, DP more serious. If you want to save money broadcast DP (Radio Click) on Radio 4 as well as on the World Service and make Radio 4 pay for it.

    Many of the World Service science radio programmes (including DP) are of better quality than similar ones on Radio 4. I see no reason why they are not broadcast on both Radio 4 and World Service with the cost shared. I live in the UK and listen to the podcasts, we in Britain are missing out by not knowing that they exist as few of us in the UK listen to the World Service.

    Having two programmes called "Click" (one radio, one TV) can only cause confusion as it makes it harder to identify each one and having a third Radio 4 programme called "Click On" can not help either.

  • Comment number 9.

    why as click not shown on BBC on. its a good program most have weaver hard off

  • Comment number 10.

    All very bewildering. TV and radio programme of the same name but different (though overlapping) content, plus another bizarrely named after just about the most frequently used pair of words on the web - click on - so if you google it you hit oodles of sites. Please don't do anything logical like call the TV programme Click and merge the two radio programmes. Mind you this is from the corporation that BBC 1,2,3, and 4, and Radio 1,2, 3 and 4, but then starts to get creative. Radio 5, BBC6 (Radio), BBC7 (Radio) renamed BBC4X, or is it Radio 4X

  • Comment number 11.

    There seems to be a serious think tank about the merge of Click and Digital Plant. The results would show ,how much execution went into the thinking.

  • Comment number 12.

    Seem to make sense to me. I always thought it was odd having two different brands covering the same content.

  • Comment number 13.

    I hope all this cost cutting is not going to totally destroy what is a really brilliant offering from the BBC. I agree with BetterBug (#3) that it was quite a loss to the public when the BBC World Service cuts were rolled out in January this year.

    At least, in this particular instance, I think it makes good sense - the content was largely overlapping and spending to maintain two separate brands is really a waste of money.

    Steve, in relation to your comment about usefulness for audiences around the world, I've done a fair amount of development work in the education sector in Uganda and other African countries and a lot of the research and programming has proved to be invaluable in engaging young learners. I don't think anybody is going to care much about branding changes, long as the same quality of content will still be available.

    Anna (Social issues blogger)

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    In the Click article about Graphene, Alex Hudson quoted Dr. Lin as saying "The kind of strengths that people quote may not even apply to microscopic samples,". Should this have been "...macroscopic..."? AFAIK, the measurements to date have been on microscopic (or at least very small) samples, so the question remaining is whether these figures will be true of pieces large enough to be useful.

  • Comment number 16.

    As long as the boring Spencer doesn't introduce the programme I really don't mind. When will someone tell the poor guy that he is just not funny. Just cut out the cr*p and get on with the programme please!


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