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BBC Celebrates 10th Anniversary of its Red-****on Interactive TV Service

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:45 PM
ilovetv ilovetv is offline
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Default BBC Celebrates 10th Anniversary of its Red-****on Interactive TV Service

[IMG]http://www.itvt.com/BBC-Red****on-2008.jpg[/IMG]The BBC is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its red-****on interactive TV service (the first pilot of which launched in 1998). According to the Corporation, the service is now used by an average of 11 million people a week to access news, weather and other general information, as well as enhanced content associated with major sporting and entertainment events. The BBC has marked the occasion by launching a range of content on the service:

  • Multiscreen and informational apps have been rolled out to accompany its coverage of snooker, the Rugby League World Cup in Australia, and the England cricket team’s tour of India.
  • Quiz apps are being offered in association with the shows, “EastEnders” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures.”
  • A karaoke app is being offered in association with the show, “Bob the Builder,” and game and story apps are being offered in association with a number of shows on the CBeebies digital channel, including “Roly Mo,” “Tikkabilla” and “Postman Pat.”
“From the initial development work conducted by the BBC Research and Innovation team, we launched the Red ****on service to provide audiences with a more enhanced television experience,” Rahul Chakkara, controller of TV platforms for BBC Future Media & Digital, said in a prepared statement. “With the breakthrough innovation of our 2001 Wimbledon coverage, this redefined what was possible on the television screen. Since then, we have continued to experiment and bring fresh new ideas to our audience. The recent coverage of the Beijing Olympics and the interactive services we’re offering with some of our most popular entertainment shows, like ‘EastEnders,’ is testament to this.”
According to the BBC, its red-****on service has won more than 15 awards, including four BAFTA’s and a 2007 International Emmy for Best Interactive Service. In its press release announcing the 10th anniversary of the service, the BBC listed its “top 10 red-****on highlights”: “1) ‘Test The Nation,’ the UK’s first truly interactive quiz, has been enabling digital viewers to play along with the studio audience 17 times since launching in 2002. 2) In 2002 the Chelsea Flower Show brought interactivity to a new audience and has been giving viewers a chance to get closer to the plant exhibits and take exclusive tours of show gardens every year since. 3) BBC Red ****on has been offering unrivalled coverage of the country’s best music events since 2003 giving viewers a choice of up to five performances from Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds, and the BBC Proms. 4) Reaching for the stars in 2004, BBC Red ****on broadcast a live interview from an astronaut orbiting in the international space station–a first for interactive television. 5) In January 2004, BBC Northern Ireland staged its first ever interactive quiz–’Would You Pass the Eleven Plus?’ They’ve since produced nearly 50 interactive programs for the region. 6) ‘Strictly Come Dancing’s’ Len Goodman knows all the moves and in 2005 he got behind the red ****on to teach viewers a different dance each week. 7) In May 2005, over half-a-million viewers pressed red to watch extended coverage and access up-to-the-minute results from the UK General Election. Fans of ‘Doctor Who’ have been accessing weekly episode commentaries from the likes of Russell T. Davies and David Tennant since 2006. 9) In 2007, CBeebies favorites, Charlie and Lola, treated pre-school viewers to an exclusive premiere of a new song and gave them the chance sing along with red-****on karaoke lyrics. 10) Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, BBC Red ****on launched the new Sport Multiscreen. The service, available around the clock, offered viewers a choice of between one and six streams along with the familiar news, results and statistics.”
The BBC’s press release also listed what it considers to be its top-10 red-****on achievements from the past 10 years: “November 1998: First pilot of digital text services on TV. 2) 1998 onwards: Over £8million has been donated to BBC’s ‘Children in Need’ via the red ****on over the 10 years. 3) 2001: BAFTA awarded for the first multiscreen red-****on coverage of Wimbledon. 4) 2001: BAFTA, RTS and Electronic Multimedia Award (EMMA) won for BBC One’s ‘Walking with Beasts’ Interactive. Throughout the duration of the series, viewers could access four screens and choose between watching additional footage, such as the science behind the series and the making of, and change the commentary if they wished. 5) 2002: ‘Test The Nation’ awarded an EMMA and is Highly Commended at the Broadcast Awards the following year. 6) 2005: Red ****on coverage of the Athens Olympics earns a BAFTA nomination and a RTS Sports Innovation award. 7) 2005: ‘Spooks’ wins a BAFTA for Best Interactive Service; a D&AD award for Outstanding Achievement, Enhanced TV; and a Grand Prix and Best Game prizes at the Milia Awards. 2007: AFDESI Award for Best Innovation & Design for ‘Waking The Dead.’ Following the second part of the two-part film, red-****on viewers were transported behind the scenes and into the world of the cold case unit. 9) 2007: International Interactive Emmy award to BBC Red ****on for Best Interactive Service. 10) 2008: Red ****on launches the BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media.”
In other BBC news:
  • The Corporation’s classical music radio station, Radio 3, is producing its first red-****on programming: coverage of a performance of Britten’s Cantata St. Nicholas by the BBC Singers, the Choristers of St. Paul’s and the BBC Concert Orchestra. The program was broadcast live on December 18th, and will then be available through the red ****on for seven days, starting December 19th.
  • The Corporation’s BBC Future Media & Technology arm has named Anthony Rose controller of its new Vision & Online Media group (he was previously head of media technology); and has named former Schematic executive, Richard Titus, controller of Audio & Music and Mobile (he was previously controller of User Experience and Design).
  • The Corporation has signed a series of agreements that it says will enable end-users to download TV programs from, its catch-up service, the BBC iPlayer, directly to their mobile handsets via a wireless Internet connection or over-the-air. The agreements, which were signed with technology and licensing companies CMLA, CoreMedia and Intertrust, allow the BBC to use OMA DRM 2.0, a digital rights management technology developed by the Open Mobile Alliance. The technology debuted on the Nokia N96 handset, and is in the process of being rolled out to other devices.
  • The Corporation says that the BBC iPlayer had generated 237 million views online through the end of November, and an additional 61 million views on Virgin Media’s digital cable platform through the end of October. In November, the BBC says, it generated over 35 million requests to view online–an average of over a million per day.
  • The Corporation has launched a children’s version of the BBC iPlayer, containing programming from its CBBC and CBeebies channels.
  • In a video posted on a BBC blog, the BBC’s Anthony Rose said that the Corporation plans to launch version 3 of the iPlayer in the first half of next year, and that the new version will offer personalization and social-media features, including user-generated programming recommendations.
  • In a submission to Phase Two of UK communications regulator Ofcom’s review of public service broadcasting, the Corporation has outlined a number of proposals, including opening up the iPlayer to other public service broadcasters, and developing an open standard for delivering broadband VOD from multiple programming providers–integrated into a single free service with over-the-air channels–to the living room television set (note: UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, and incumbent telco, BT, have announced support for the latter initiative). [itvt] plans to cover these proposals in depth in a future issue. “The BBC and the Future of Public Broadcasting,” the document that contains the proposals, is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/thefuture/submission.shtml.
  • The UK Competition Commission has issued a preliminary report finding that Project Kangaroo, the proposed VOD joint venture between the BBC and commercial terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, would cause a “substantial lessening” of VOD competition in the UK market. News of the Competition Commission’s findings came shortly after Kangaroo CEO, Ashley Highfield, left the project to become managing director of consumer and online at Microsoft UK.
  • The Corporation’s BBC Global News arm has extended its relationship with YouTube via a new deal that sees it adding six broadband video news channels–in Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Persian and Urdu–to its existing BBC World News channel on YouTube. Video news stories will run each day across the different language channels and each channel will be branded and tailored to its specific audience, the BBC says. The new channels are scheduled to launch by the end of the year.
  • The BBC Trust, the internal body that regulates the BBC, has rejected the Corporation’s proposal to launch a network of around 60 video-enabled local news Web sites. “It is clear from the evidence that, although license fee payers want better regional and local services from the BBC, this proposal is unlikely to achieve what they want,” BBC Trust chairman, Michael Lyons, said in a prepared statement. “We also recognize the negative impact that the local video proposition could have on commercial media services which are valued by the public and are already under pressure. We believe the BBC’s priority should be improving the quality of existing services. The public wants better-quality regional television news programs and more programs of all kinds produced in and reflecting their areas. We would expect BBC management to consider carefully the conclusions of this public value test before returning to us with new proposals. Our decision today to refuse permission for local video means that local newspapers and other commercial media can invest in their online services in the knowledge that the BBC does not intend to make this new intervention in the market.”
  • The Corporation recently began simulcasting online its terrestrial networks, BBC One and BBC Two. It has been simulcasting its BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC and CBeebies channels for some time now.
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