Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BBC to shake up web with more interactivity

BBC to shake up web with more interactivity: "The BBC, already the UK's biggest online brand, signalled its determination to join the fast-growing web world of blogs, open access and online communities."

The public broadcaster said it would relaunch its website to feature greater personalisation and more user-generated content as it laid out its strategy to adapt to the so-called “web 2.0 world”, where users increasingly create their own online communities.

Following the success of rock groups including Arctic Monkeys through, the community internet site, the BBC also set itself the goal of becoming “the premier destination for unsigned bands” through broadband, podcasting and mobile phone services.

Outlining the strategy, Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, said: “There is a big shock coming”, warning that unless the corporation worked harder to reach younger audiences and those that felt increasingly distant from the broadcaster, the corporation could lose a generation forever.

“We need to understand our audiences far better, to be more responsive, collaborative and to build deeper relationships with them around fantastic quality content,” he said.

Channel 4, the publicly owned but advertising-funded broadcaster, also extended its reach into community-led online offerings on Tuesday, saying it planned to launch a user-generated comedy broadband channel. This follows the earlier launch of a channel that allows audiences to post their own documentaries.

The changes reflect the rapid growth in internet sites dedicated to building up communities and that allow the exchange of information and content.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation was among the first big media companies to invest in such social networking sites, spending $580m (£324m) last year on MySpace, the biggest of the sites with about 70m users.

ITV last year bought, which brings old school and college friends together online.

The big question for the sites, which reflect the changing internet behaviour of those aged under 30, is how to make money from advertising.

So far, internet advertising is small relative to traditional advertising but it is the fastest-growing sector. Continuing shifts in behaviour, such as decreased television viewing, are expected to accelerate the shift from mass advertising to targeted marketing.

The increase in such digital experimentation will not come cheaply for the public broadcasters, and both the BBC and Channel 4 on Tuesday laid out claims for financial support.


+ Related

BBC unveils radical revamp of website
Mark Sweney
Tuesday April 25, 2006

Ashley Highfield
Highfield: refocusing BBC digital output around three concepts - share, find and play

The BBC today unveiled radical plans to rebuild its website around user-generated content, including blogs and home videos, with the aim of creating a public service version of

Ashley Highfield, the BBC director of new media and technology, also announced proposals to put the corporation's entire programme catalogue online for the first time from tomorrow in written archive form, as an "experimental prototype", and rebrand MyBBCPlayer as BBC iPlayer.

Mr Highfield was unveiling the results of the broadcaster's Creative Future review of programming and content before an audience of BBC new media staff.

The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, is also talking to staff today about the wider implications of the Creative Future review.

Mr Highfield's presentation, Beyond Broadcast, outlined a three-pronged approach to refocus all future BBC digital output and services around three concepts - "share", "find" and "play".

He said the philosophy of "share" would be at the heart of what he dubbed 2.0.

Mr Highfield said the share concept would allow users to "create your own space and to build around you", encouraging them to launch ther own blogs and post home videos on the site.

The BBC is also running a competition to revamp the 2.0 website, asking the public to redesign the homepage to "exploit the fuctionality and usability of services such as Flickr, YouTube, Technorati and Wikipedia".

At the heart of the play concept is MyBBCPlayer, which will allow the public to download and view BBC programming online and was today rebranded as BBC iPlayer.

"BBC iPlayer is going to offer catch-up television up to seven days after transmission," said Mr Highfield. "At any time you will be able to download any programme from the eight BBC channels and 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."

The find concept relates to next-generation search and unlocking the BBC archive. From tomorrow internet users will for the first time be able to search for details of the corporation's entire programme catalogue as far back as 1937

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