The BBC is to explore how the delivery of content over IP can further “enrich and add value” to its television services. Publishing its first-ever Priorities and Summary Workplan, for the period 2011/12, the BBC Executive says the current Red Button service will play a vital role in acting as a navigator and a guide to these new experiences.
One such service will be the 2012 London Olympics that will see the availability of 24 different streams and offer viewers the ability to personalise the content.
In the report John Denton, managing editor TV Platforms, says although the Red Button service continues to build audiences it faces challenges in the amount of capacity it has available. This is a reference to the loss of DTT capacity as a result in part of the reshuffle needed to accommodate the new HD multiplex, though the BBC subsequently found ‘spare’ capacity that is now being marketed with Arqiva.
Red Button will serve as the link between BBC linear, interactive and on demand programming. The BBC is also exploring how it can make relevant programme content available to companion devices.
The new connected broadcasting strategy builds on both developments on Red Button and the syndication policy that ensures BBC content is presented in a consistent manner across all platforms. “The strategy is still in development but is likely to work within the frameworks of current service licences,” says the report, adding that YouView remains a priority as part of a broader free-to-air strategy that includes the Freeview and Freesat platforms. The BBC says it is updating its strategies for these platforms to reflect the latest developments in the UK TV market.
A two-year long plan for BBC Online began in April 2011 based around ten services: News, Sport, TV & iPlayer, Search, Weather, Radio & Music, Knowledge & Learning, CBBC, and CBeebies.
A new TV & iPlayer product will unify all the current Drama, Entertainment and Comedy, TV programmes and archive with releases expected through the year.
Separately, lower rates of take-up and procurement efficiencies in the digital switchover programme means the BBC anticipates that the surplus of licence fee funding over actual costs will increase by £20m in 2011/12 to £315m, which will be paid over to the Exchequer on a schedule to be agreed with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.