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BBC Blog: IPTV is ‘arguably the platform of the future’

The BBC wants to build a prototype and pilot Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

Speaking at the IPTV World Forum yesterday, Fearnley, who is general manager news and knowledge of BBC Future Media, said IPTV – which allows content from the internet is displayed on a connected TV – is “arguably the platform of the future”.

Writing on the BBC Internet Blog after delivering the speech, Fearnley says there are opportunities for BBC News Online in IPTV.

Screen Digest reports that by 2014 90 per cent of TV sets sold in Europe will be internet enabled. And of course, connected TVs are only part of the story; around three quarters of major brand consoles purchased in 2011 will be browser enabled so this is a huge area of growth.

That said, the IPTV market is in its infancy and we don’t know what mainstream audience reaction will be. An agreed editorial strategy and defined product roadmap from the BBC are still a way off, but in the meantime we’re keen to prototype and pilot within the market, glean audience feedback, and iterate quickly.

Fearnley goes on to imagine how IPTV could develop.

By looking at the strengths of BBC News on the web we can start to see how the service could be re-imagined for IPTV. When BBC News Online was refreshed last year we introduced ‘live pages’, housing up-to-the-minute AV content and real-time updates. Major events continue to demonstrate that traditional, ‘lean-back’ consumption isn’t enough for audiences. During the recent disaster in Japan over 79,996 users ‘shared’ the live page; the live event experience on the web is strong.

Imagine a browser-based BBC News experience on your TV. With closer proximity between the live broadcast and BBC Online you can envisage users dipping out of a London 2012 linear broadcast to access details of an athlete, event, or location online – a context enriched by our advances in dynamic semantic publishing, which my colleague Jem Rayfield blogged about last year.

In comparison, apps optimised to a platform standard could deliver a more focused type of utility. You can imagine a BBC News app for connected TV that unites digital journalism with the AV of the BBC News Channel, improved by on-demand, allowing users to navigate through bulletins and to drive their own consumption. There’s huge potential here, and the BBC’s role is the same as ever: expressing the full, creative potential of the medium.

Feanley’s post says IPTV is in its infancy and appeals to the industry to develop technologies in a way that are easy to use -  just as Ceefax was.

“A simple, intuitive navigational platform standard – seamlessly integrating linear and on-demand worlds – is what we ask of industry.”

Full blog post on the BBC site at this link

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