The BBC is working on a personalised, multi-platform, multi-device live viewing experience for the 2012 London Olympics. Delegates at the AOP Digital Publishing Summit in London on Friday were treated to a work-in-progress sneak peek of what UK-based viewers will be treated to during the games, from the BBC Sport’s head of product Cate O’Riordan.
Here’s the video:
O’Riordan was at pains to stress that this is not the final version and not even a blueprint for what may or may not finally be unveiled, so take it all with a pinch of salt. But still, it’s impressive and may well show yet again that the BBC develops digital broadcasting products with live and social aspects better than anyone.
Some key points:
– The BBC site will have thousands of semantically tagged and automatically generated pages covering the games, including an individual page for every single of the 12,000 athletes taking part. In the prototype shown today, the pages are automatically linked to in stories and articles, just as the BBC trialled during the 2010 World Cup, but the data is also used as an overlay on digital streamed viewing. In other words while watching on your iPad, you’ll see a world of facts and figures on same screen (if you want).
– Cross-device favouriting and saving: Users will be able to tell the iPlayer what they like to watch, start something and watch it later on a different device.
– Social sharing has been mentioned in relation to iPlayer for years now, and was one of former Future Media and Technology controller Erik Huggers’ obsessions. But this demo shows genuine sharing in action: users will be able to see in real-time who is watching what and then join in, with integration to Facebook and other platforms.
And just for old time’s sake, this is the video I shot in 2009 of Erik Huggers demoing a very early version of Project Canvas (what is now YouView) and what would be possible with an internet-connected TV, by way of a 100 metre final. Yes, I have bought a tripod since then.