Thursday, 10 February 2011

BBC to develop permanent online archive

The BBC has been given the go-ahead to develop a permanent online archive of broadcast material. The archive will be accessed via a dedicated website and will offer content from BBC 4, Radio 4 and Radio 3. Initial content will mainly be documentaries on topics such as politics, business and travel.

The BBC may have unlocked the door to more broadcast content online, however it’s surprising that this initiative hasn’t targeted the TV as well. In my view it would be more potent for the BBC to also develop this initiative for the TV, accessed via a TV portal, it would allow viewers to access the archive TV content directly through a connected TV.

We have seen on-demand content take a leap from being an optional extra, to a ‘must have’ when it comes to what viewers expect from TV services today. In the past broadcasters have been restricted to offering limited amounts of content online, for a limited time but now the BBC have been given the all clear, others are likely to follow suite. Making this content available online is a step in the right direction but TV content in particular needs to be easily accessible on other devices as well, most notably the TV.

The long and the short of it is that, however content is made available, the viewer must be kept in mind. Viewers still want to maintain an element of the ‘traditional’ TV experience - to sit back, relax and watch. So it’s essential that the user interface of whichever device being used is intuitive. As more content is opened up to consumers this will be a key challenge for the industry to address in the next 12 months and beyond.

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