Tag Archives: BBC News Interactive

Goodbye pop-up player – BBC to embed all video

image of bbc’s flash video player

The BBC is to phase out the pop-up player that it currently uses to host the majority of its audio and video content in favour of a newly developed embedded Flash player.

The new player has been developed jointly by the journalism and iPlayer teams, so says the BBC Internet blog, as a replacement for the pop-up which relies on using Real or Windows Media formatted video.

Use of the new payer has so far been limited, but over the coming weeks embedded video is expected to become the norm.

It’s hardly surprising, last year Pete Clifton, head of BBC News Interactive, talked to Journalism.co.uk about the experimental use of embedded players across the BBC News online.

During that interview Clifton said that initial tests had shown up to a 40 per cent conversion rate, where people reading stories were also watching the embedded video.

In its standalone player format, he added, the conversion rate was about two per cent. Channel 4 News found about the same.

But he also touched on a another significant point; video embedded into stories, he added, was proving to be popular with audiences as these videos tended to dispense with the traditional news ‘package’ format, instead just showing the footage necessary to enhance the text story sitting beneath the embedded player.

Getting this right is as important as changing the technology to a more user-friendly approach.

So it’s win-win. Better standard of content and technology for the user, fewer headaches for the developers having to reformat all the video

The Crown Jewels indeed.

Happy Birthday BBC News website

The BBC News website celebrates its 10th birthday this week – though no exact date can be pinned down according to the corporation.

The look of the place has changed a lot in the last decade as this screengrab from December 1 1998, courtesy of the Way Back Machine internet archive, shows (though even then you can get your news in video and audio, and Gordon Brown still manages to top the bill).

BBC News website 1998

But the changes aren’t over given the recent goings on at the Beeb: the future promises an on-demand personalised news service, more user-generated content and an integrated multimedia newsroom.

Notably, BBC News Interactive – the department that set up the BBC’s news site – will cease to exist. In his blog, Steve Herrmann, former editor of BBC News interactive and now editor of BBC News website, says the integration process has ‘clear benefits’ for the website.

But Herrmann also acknowledges the risks involved. “From my point of view, I am concerned that the editorial coherence of the news website should not be sacrificed in the name of efficiency,” he writes. Shouldn’t integration naturally strengthen editorial coherence?

What the BBC News website will look like by the end of this year, let alone by the end of another ten, is anybody’s guess, but what would you keep and what should be the first thing to go?