BBC New Media today announced the next phase in the
development of the BBC's integrated Media Player (iMP):
an extensive three month content trial that will begin in September
iMP offers UK viewers the chance to catch up on TV and radio programmes
they may have missed for up to seven days after they have been broadcast,
using the internet to legally download programmes to their home computers.
A technical trial took place in Summer 2004 with a limited number
of participants and a small amount of rights-cleared programmes to test
the concept of using peer-to-peer technology and digital rights management
(DRM) to protect rights holders.
As part of the next phase of iMP's development, the BBC will now open
up more of its radio and TV schedule - around 190 hours of TV programmes
and 310 hours of radio programmes, as well as local programming and
rights-cleared feature films.
Five thousand people - from all over the UK - will take part in the
pilot. They will be able to search for programmes they want to watch,
filter programmes by channel, select subtitles and, in the case of some
series, to collect and watch episodes that they may otherwise have missed.
The BBC will be working with Siemens Business Services, BBC Broadcast
and Kontiki Inc. as part of the content trial. They will assist the
BBC with the technical and playout elements of the service.
Ashley Highfield, BBC Director of New Media & Technology,
says: "iMP could just be the iTunes for the broadcast industry, enabling
our audience to access our TV and radio programmes on their terms -
anytime, any place, any how - Martini Media.
"We'll see what programmes appeal in this new world and how people
search, sort, snack and savour our content in the broadband world."
The news follows a presentation given last week by Ashley Highfield
at Mediacast, in which he outlined the explosive uptake of broadband
and the increasing numbers of people using the internet to access audio
He added, however, that take-up was in danger of stalling without the
necessary content to attract audiences, the lack of which was due to
issues with rights, distribution and navigation.
The BBC, Highfield explained, was looking to tackle these issues through
services like Creative Archive and iMP, and called on the industry to
do the same.
Broadband users who would like to be considered for a place on the
pilot should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org including their name,
contact details, age and postcode.
Notes to Editors
iMP is based on the BBC's highly successful RadioPlayer, which lets
viewers listen again to a selection of the BBC's radio programmes for
up to seven days after broadcast.
The BBC's integrated Media Player (iMP) is a new application in development
which will allow users to download tv and radio programmes from bbc.co.uk
to their PC or laptop and watch or listen to them for seven days after
the transmission date.
The pilot will use digital rights management software to delete programmes
seven days after the programme has aired on TV and users will no longer
be able to watch it. DRM also prevents users emailing the files to other
computer users or sharing it via disc.
BBC Radio is to extend its own trial of downloading by adding up to
20 radio shows for podcasting.
The iMP pilot will use peer to peer distribution technology (P2P) to
distributes its audio visual content effectively and Geo-IP technology
to restrict iMP to UK internet users only.
The pilot will run from September to December 2005 and will be used
to assess the demand of particular types of programmes and determine
whether iMP has an impact on the commercial market. This will assist
the BBC Governors in evaluating its public value.