[LINK] BBC iPlayer

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu May 27 14:47:27 AEST 2010

BBC launches new iPlayer with links to rival sites  <www.reuters.com>

(Reuters) - British state broadcaster the BBC launched a new version of 
its popular iPlayer Web video service with prominent links to rivals' 
sites, as it waits to see if the new coalition government will limit its 
funding or powers.

The new version of the iPlayer, one of Britain's top websites, will allow 
viewers to personalize home pages and share tips and synchronize viewing 
with friends via Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft's MSN instant messenger 
chat service.

The BBC has faced increasing criticism during the recession from rivals 
led by pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB and online news providers who say the 
corporation's public funding of 3.6 billion pounds ($5.18 billion) a year 
distorts the market.

Earlier this year it signaled a retreat from some commercial operations 
to focus on core services, after BSkyB called its digital scope and 
plans "chilling," but rejected calls for it to share the iPlayer platform 
with rivals.

Erik Huggers, the BBC's director of future media and technology, told a 
news conference on Wednesday the BBC would help competitors and consumers 
by making it easier to find programs from other providers on the iPlayer.

"We want to double the amount of traffic we send to other sites," he said.

The BBC says that since its launch two-and-a-half years ago a third of 
all British adults claim to have used the iPlayer, which replays recently 
broadcast programs.

The new iPlayer will feature links on its TV homepage to the ITV player, 
Channel 4's 4oD and Clic, RTL's Demand Five and SeeSaw, an online service 
showing content from Channel 4, RTL's Five and older BBC programs.

There will be no link to BSkyB's websites in the beta version launched on 
Wednesday (beta.bbc.co.uk/iplayer), although Huggers did not rule this 
out in future.

"If Sky wants to be part of this, we would very much welcome their 
participation," Huggers said. "They are considering it."

The new iPlayer has tabs that viewers can use to choose views featuring 
either their own favorites, the BBC's selection of popular programing or 
friends' recommendations.

As well as signaling content they like users will also be able to 
synchronize their viewing with friends via MSN chat.

The beta version will become the default site at the end of June or early 
July if all goes well.

Huggers said he was still working on an international version of the 
iPlayer, which is currently only accessible in Britain, with the BBC's 
commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.

"An international version of iPlayer is still very high on the agenda," 
he said. "I can't give dates."

He also welcomed Google TV, a service that will bring the Web to 
television screens, and said it indicated how fast technology in the 
living room was moving.

On Tuesday the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, published results of 
a review of its online services including the iPlayer in which it said it 
was broadly satisfied the iPlayer was fulfilling viewers' expectations.

(Editing by Dan Lalor, Greg Mahlich)

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