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BBC Adds Social Networking Into 3rd Generation iPlayer

Gordon Kelly


BBC Adds Social Networking Into 3rd Generation iPlayer

Yes, we've long admitted our deep love for the BBC (heck, even our new editor joins us from the Beeb) and one of the main reasons is iPlayer...

Following a opening up of the streaming platform which saw it hit Freesat, Virgin Media, Nintendo Wii and numerous PVRs and Internet TVs, Auntie has decided it was about time to give the main site a spit and polish.

The most obvious change to the third generation of iPlayer is a redesign which places more focus on what's actually broadcasting live on BBC channels right now as well as greater emphasis on personalised options with 'Features', 'For You', 'Most Popular' and 'Friends' categories. TV and radio have also been more clearly segregated.

As for functionality, we see Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger integration to promote greater sharing of content and the option to see what your friends have been watching. The actual viewing experienced is improved too with channel hopping now available from a single window and the ability to download entire series.

Lastly - and possibly, most surprising - will be the addition of a hub for content from other broadcasters. Sounding somewhat like Project Canvas, linked will be provided to 4OD, Demand Five, ITV Player, Click and SeeSaw.

The new iPlayer can be tested at the beta site below, it will formally go live in late June.

Link: iPlayer beta


May 27, 2010, 1:14 pm

Dropping down the 'Categories' and 'A to Z' seems to me to be a mistake on the Beebs part. Like most people I'm never going to sign in with a 'BBC iD' and am not interested in what's 'Most Popular' or what's 'Featured'. I just want to find the programme I want to watch as quickly as I can. Unfortunately this latest revision has made it more harder for me to do so by dropping 'Categories' down the page and losing the 'A to Z' altogether.

And does anyone want their friends on Facebook to know that they've just been watching 'Snog, Marry or Avoid'?


May 27, 2010, 2:24 pm

I enjoy the content BBC puts out and the Iplayer was a true game changer but I hate that im forced into buying a TV license just to own a tv, radio or even have the net.

How much longer will people put up with it? I can't see it being very long, with all the different ways to get the content you want (legally even).

If you gave everyone the choice to "subscribe" to the BBC network I wonder how many millions would opt out right away.


May 27, 2010, 4:01 pm

@Runadumb I actually think millions of people would happily pay the license fee even if it only gave you access to the BBC's content and not the commercial broadcasters. I think that the £150 a years is exceptionally good value for all the BBC TV channel's, BBC radio and BBC website.

In a way i wish that they did make it all subscription and opened it up internationally, as i think it would bring in more money and shut all the license fee whingers like you up.

The commercial world would NEVER offer such great value for money in my opinion.


May 27, 2010, 4:14 pm

The BIG news would be an ANDROID client ......... HURRY!

I love the BBC its the great university of the UK TV industry - the Jewel in the crown of British culture, we attack it and dismantle it at our peril, its still brilliant value for money compared to how much we spend on ITV Channel 4, five and other so called Free to Air channels.

Every time we check out at the supermarket a huge wad goes to ITV and their buddys. There really is no such thing as free.


May 27, 2010, 7:13 pm

The BBC may be great value for money but thats a moot point when you're forced into paying for it. I watch a few BBC shows and listen to radio 1 so I do use the service but to say £150 is value for money depends entirely on the user and the time they spend using what BBC provides. I certainly wouldn't subscribe but I would pick up shows like Life when they hit Blue-ray.


May 27, 2010, 9:45 pm

@Runadumb: I'm slightly confused by your "even have the net" line?

Also, you can use the iPlayer without a license; which is only for "live" broadcast channels.


May 27, 2010, 11:03 pm

@drdark I am not confused.

The @Runadumb's trying to perpetuate the old chestnut of a MOAN of 'having' to pay for the licence fee.... blah..blah...blah. Probably connected with Sky/NI or is a Right-Winger....

Firstly, I don't have Sky but I pay for it, ITV, C4 etc when I buy anything because the advertisers charge me for the advertising. Which means you pay even if you have NO TV and/or radio or any media at all!

Sky's "average revenues per user at a new high of £464" - I am sure the BBC or ITV or C4 would be able to provide all the Sky programmes for that sort of licence fee!!!

Now compare the BBC licence fee increase by 2% to £145.50 in March 2010 to Sky's revenue up 7% to £5.32 billion and operating profit up 4% to £780m.

BSkyB's 9-month (to 31st March 2010) revenues up 11% to £4.383bln vs. expected £4.368bln. 9-month adjusted operating profit £618 million vs. expected £610mln.

Furthermore, I heartily recommend such to enlightenment here: http://www.trustedreviews.c...

Even it's worst biased critics are obliged to write:

&#8220..BBC2 series - the five-part Wonders of the Solar System ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/... ),.... has been lauded by critics, hailed by DJ Chris Evans as the&#8221 best programme I've ever seen...&#8221 &#8211 Daily Mail

&#8220Why I'm a convert to particle physics - By Suzanne Moore, DM&#8221 ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/... ). &#8211 Daily Mail


May 27, 2010, 11:04 pm

@Drdark this is taken from the TV license site

You need to be covered by a license if you watch TV online at the same time as it's being broadcast on conventional TV in the UK or the Channel Islands.

I would say that is unenforceable and they are just letting people know it what you "should" do, but yeah I mistook it. Funny how you didn't call me out on the Radio bit as thats not part of it either, having just read through the site.

Hmmmm, I could gladly ditch my TV in a few years and move exclusively to a large monitor thus negating my need to buy a TV license. It shall happen and I will never speak of my ill towards the license fee again.


May 27, 2010, 11:49 pm

I am pretty sure you only have to pay the licence fee if you are going to watch or record LIVE TV only, it does not cover live radio, the BBCs website or iplayer apart from the live stream aspect, but it does pay for all of that.

so basically if you dont own a TV then you dont pay the licence fee


May 28, 2010, 10:08 pm

BBC One is going High Definition (later in the year) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/....

AT BLOODY VERY, VERY, LONG LAST!!!! Boy are the BBC Trustees afraid of 'Howling Mad' Murdochs!


May 28, 2010, 10:35 pm

@Enigma - yep, I'll be putting up a piece on this over the Bank Holiday. Bank Holiday? What are they...? ;)


May 28, 2010, 11:46 pm

(Well if you want an Assistant News Ed I am available &#8211 seriously! I promise to be TOTALLY impartial. Don't print this bit.)

Happy hols anyway.

Remember when Sir Richard Branson became involved in VM and he did to BSB what he did to its equivalent in the Airline Industry did we have the Authorities take action against BSB for its share in ITV. All the while the BBC and the other terrestrials and even worst NTL (now Virgin Media) did not raise a whimper when BSkyB tried to muscle in on ITV.

Now Virgin Media is selling its cable channels Virgin 1 et al to BSkyB. Of course I suspect an element of the price being paid by BSB for Virgin Media's channels is to ensure it is attractive enough for VM to grab the deal. Hence get rid of a competitor. After all why would BSB buy these channels when they are showing repeats or programmes which BSB could easily outbid VM? So all yous who are opposed to a single powerful media company write (e-mails) to your MP, Culture and Media Committee, Ofcom, and the Monopolies commission! After all if it was bad for BSB to have a SHARE in ITV surely it is BAD for BSB to buy any of its rivals (be it VM's channels or channel Five)? That much has been legally clarified! It is logical but not as the Murdochs would like it :-(

Lets not forget in opposing the BBC's developments like the iPlayer what the Murdochs are saying is that in addition to paying them some £500/year per subscriber we should also pay the BBC to CREATE markets for new programming for it but NOT for the BBC to offer us reasonably costing quality tv alternative!!! The FLAMING cheek of it all. Bit like the MPs expenses fiasco.

I think BBC Trust should be got rid off. Replace it with a corporate style structure and then the Murdochs will have a real fight on their hands.


May 29, 2010, 1:52 am

It makes sense for BBC to link to other "on demand" providers, if only because anyone who's seen 4OD's dog-turd picture quality will run screaming back to the iPlayer jabbering about "the lego men" coming to get them.


May 29, 2010, 2:02 am

ffrankmccaffrey: Agreed. I like some elements of the new design - like the drop-down programme synopses - but categories should be back at the top, as should the A-Z. However to my mind the "Featured" box is a good idea, if used to draw attention to documentaries and other shows many viewers might otherwise be unaware of.

As for social networking, this is simply jumping on the bandwagon in order to look up to date. Talking about what was on telly last night is one of the classic ways to waste time at work; please don't take that away from us with instant Twitbook notifications. How long before toasters have social networking software to tell all your tenuous acquaintances the exciting news that you've decided on seeded multigrain today?

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