BBC Online: The future is one service, four screens, 10 products

Future media and technology boss Ralph Rivera outlines his vision and unveils a new app...
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

Future media and technology boss Ralph Rivera outlines his vision and unveils a new app...

With British TV audiences increasingly consuming the BBC's online content on a range of devices, the broadcaster is to concentrate on delivering the same viewer experience regardless of platform.

"We see the emergence of the post-PC world and we are embracing it as an opportunity to reach our audiences on whatever piece of glass they choose to use, with an experience appropriate for each device," director of BBC future media Ralph Rivera said at an event in London on Friday.

BBC Online focus less on PCs

BBC Online's strategy will focus on four 'pieces of glass' - laptops, smartphones, tablets and TVsImage: BBC

"The reality is that we'll see fragmentation [in devices] but the experience needs to converge across devices," he added.

The BBC is dividing these 'pieces of glass' into four categories - laptops, smartphones, tablets and TVs - and is aiming to make BBC Online consistent between them.

"At the heart of this is looking at BBC Online as one service. It is the gateway to content and experiences across the entirety of the BBC. It provides the connective tissue that enables us to inform, educate and entertain as part of one narrative - not as a disjointed set of activities," Rivera said.

According to the BBC, online audiences for the four types of device are rising steadily. Laptops dominate consumption of BBC Online, with 6.1 million unique weekly users for iPlayer, compared to 400,000 viewers who access the service on smartphones and 200,000 who do so on tablets.

Meanwhile, internet-connected TVs now have two million unique weekly iPlayer users - and the BBC is aiming to tap into this nascent market with an app, which it revealed at the event last week.

The free BBC News app for internet-connected TVs brings selected news video and text content from the BBC News website and repurposes it for television viewing.

The HTML-based TV app is only available on Samsung TVs via the Samsung Apps store but the BBC is working with other manufacturers to make it available on other devices, while BBC Worldwide plans to launch an ad-supported international version.

As well as the focus on the four kinds of device, the BBC is consolidating its numerous websites into 10 product groups: CBBC, CBeebies, Home, Knowledge and Learning, News, Radio, Search, Sport, TV and Weather.

Rivera said the move to the 10 product groups is linked to "a renewed focus on quality and distinctiveness over quantity".

The BBC is also aiming to make its websites more connected, social and personalised so users can better integrate what they do with the broadcaster's content into their social networks and so "audiences connect to us and each other".

"The themes that run through this are something we want to make real for the Olympics," Rivera added.

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