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29 October 2014
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EastEnders on iPlayer

BBC's Director of New Media & Technology defines vision for the future

Ashley Highfield, the BBC's Director of New Media & Technology, today outlined the key challenges facing the division in a presentation to staff entitled 'Beyond Broadcast' as part of the BBC's 'Creative Future' strategy.


The presentation defined a clear vision for the future. Ashley Highfield says: "Everything we do here is around technology innovation, to keep the BBC relevant in the digital age."


All the audience-facing services the division is planning to launch fall into three main categories: Find, Play and Share. Internally, all of the initiatives are about transforming the production process and enabling programme makers.


Find, Play and Share


The 'Play' product MyBBCPlayer - which is to be re-named BBC iPlayer - is subject to a Public Value Test and is being project-led by Tony Ageh.


Highfield says: "What BBC iPlayer is going to do is simply offer you catch-up television on your computer, up to seven days after transmission.


"At any time, you'll be able to download any programme from the eight BBC channels and then watch it on your PC and, we hope, move it across to your TV set or down to your mobile phone, to watch it when you want.


"We'll also continue to experiment with different ways to broadcast live television over the internet and pilot a first taste of the archive."


'Find' relates to the next generation of navigation. "Metadata is the information that we hold about our programmes; if we want to unlock the archive, and enable people to search by programme or theme, then we are going to have to have awesome metadata," said Highfield.


"Unlocking our archive is one of the biggest challenges we face and, potentially, one of the richest gifts we can give to the nation.


"To this end, tomorrow we are publishing an experimental prototype which puts the entire BBC programme catalogue onto the Web for the first time, at


"This will allow you to find out about any of the one million programmes that the BBC holds in its archive, going right back to 1937. It's a window onto an amazing cultural and national resource."


Nic Newman heads up the project looking at the future of the search service and associated navigation, working closely with Jason Da Ponte.


Alongside this is an ambition to radically overhaul the website - a project being led by Tom Loosemore which covers all aspects of what the BBC offers in the world of Web 2.0.


The BBC Programme Catalogue experiment is overseen by Loosemore with Julie Rowbotham and Adam Lee.


Ashely Highfield adds: "The 'Share' philosophy is at the heart of 2.0. We are looking to a world where you could share BBC programmes, your own thoughts, your own blogs and your own home videos. It allows you to create your own space and to build around you."


Transform and Enable


As part of the BBC's goal to be fully tapeless by 2010, the Creative Desktop is a new service that will help the Corporation take an important first step towards organisation-wide desktop digital production.


BBC's Chief Technology Officer John Varney, says: "Over the next few years the BBC will revolutionise the way production teams view, share and prepare content. Our vision is to have a fully open, accessible and interoperable network to enable production teams to gain access and share assets across the whole of the Corporation."


Launching this summer, the Creative Desktop will enable programme makers to better prepare content prior to post-production, and will be equipped for sharing and viewing content. It is being overseen by Paul Cheesebrough, Technology Controller Production, New Media & Technology.


"In time, we envisage the Creative Desktop to be a fully converged, flexible environment for our production teams to produce content for an on-demand world," continued Varney. home page


BBC New Media & Technology today announces a competition to re-design and re-imagine the home page in the Web 2.0 world.


The competition ( asks individuals not only to re-design the homepage, but also to take it back to the drawing board so that it exploits the functionality and usability of services such as Flickr, YouTube, Technorati and Wikipedia.


Entrants will also need to think about how their design will help future users of the site find their way through millions of pages of content, as well as being able to play and navigate hundreds of hours of BBC Television and Radio.


Tom Loosemore said: "We've recently started a project to reassess the entire BBC website. Inviting people to contribute via this competition is an essential component of that work.


"Given our publicly-funded status, we're delighted that the open nature of the Web offers the BBC's users the chance to contribute their own ideas directly into the creative process. It is, after all, their website."





Category: New Media; BBC
Date: 25.04.2006
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