The BBC has revealed BBC Taster, an initiative to develop its latest ideas for digital content and emerging technology. Taster will feature early and experimental concepts from across TV, Radio and Online, enabling the BBC to explore the future of content with audiences and offer them something completely new to try, rate and share.
Taster is a place for the BBC to try new ways of telling stories, develop new talent, and put new technology through its paces. It also allows the BBC to showcase a range of editorial and technology projects that may have previously remained behind closed doors.
BBC Taster is a new home for its experimental ideas – such as interactive, short-form or social content, online features and services, and other ideas from left-field
This release includes exclusive content with Lena Dunham and Jennifer Saunders, Simon Reeves, hip hop duo Run the Jewels, and several major BBC brands
And the latest experiments with digital technology from BBC Future Media, Research & Development, Connected Studio and digital innovation teams
Enables the BBC to better serve audiences by innovating quickly, gaining valuable feedback and responding to changing media habits
Ralph Rivera, Director of BBC Future Media, notes that innovation has been at the heart of the BBC since the birth of radio and TV, right through to the digital age – having pioneered products and services such as the BBC Micro, Ceefax, BBC iPlayer and the first truly digital Olympics in 2012. “BBC Taster is the next step, bringing together our editorial and technology experts and opening the process up for audiences. This will give us valuable feedback and technical insights, helping us further develop our ideas and work on those with the greatest potential,” he advised.
According to Danny Cohen, Director of BBC TV, the broadcaster has always pushed the boundaries with its creative programming and innovative digital services. “These two worlds are coming together and opening up new possibilities for telling stories. BBC Taster will help ensure we stay at the forefront and better serve audiences now and in the future. It’s an exciting opportunity for our world-class production teams to take more creative risks online, try their ideas out and put them in the hands of audiences,” he declared.
A new approach to innovation
Taster enables the BBC to release its ideas early, get direct feedback from audiences and improve them if the BBC sees potential. More ideas will be regularly introduced into Taster and could come from anywhere across the organisation – from TV and Radio production, to the BBC’s technology experts in BBC Future Media and its digital innovation team. This ensures greater collaboration across the BBC and with the wider industry, enabling us to innovate quickly and work on a range of ideas in response to audiences’ rapidly changing media habits.
For example, the devices audiences use are proliferating, with tablets now in 44 per cent of UK households, and 61 per cent of UK adults own a smartphone – including 88 per cent of 16 to 24 year-olds – and are also considered the most important device for accessing the internet among 16 to 34 year-olds. And BBC Online now receives as much traffic from mobiles as it does from PCs. Social media also plays an increasingly important role among youth audiences, with 75 per cent of 16-24 year-olds in the UK claiming to use social networking sites.
There will be a mix of content developed specifically to explore the potential of new formats and digital technologies across a range of genres. At launch, BBC Taster features examples from BBC iPlayer, News, Radio 1, Natural History, Drama, Current Affairs and Arts… with much more to come in future. It’s also an opportunity to serve audiences something extra, utilising the BBC archive, additional and unseen material from BBC recordings or backstage footage.
New content will be added regularly into Taster as a result of new collaborations, projects and ideas. Some current highlights include:
When Len Met Jen: The full interview with Lena Dunham and Jennifer Saunders, as seen on Newsnight, made interactive. Features 40 minutes of unseen material.
Who is in today? Lets audiences know which celebrities visited BBC studios and offices that day, offering exclusive photos, videos and backstage gossip.
Simon Reeve’s World Tour: Ahead of his upcoming BBC Two series, Simon brings an interactive world tour, combining archive material and exclusive footage.
BBC iPlayer Shuffle: A continuous video player that learns from what you click on, serving relevant content to you as it figures out what you like, and what you don’t like.
Run the Jewels: Exclusive and interactive material from highly acclaimed American hip hop duo Run the Jewels’ recent gig at Koko, including backstage footage and interviews.
Body language: Five poets have written three different stanzas about different parts of their body. The user can then mix and match images and poetry to make their own videos and pictures and share with friends, with up to 125 possible combinations.
Your Story: Uses the BBC News archive to create a personalised and shareable timeline of the big, funny or quirky stories making the headlines from when you were born.
Radio 1 R1OT: Brings a competitive element to online voting and will influence what happens on air. Tune in to BBC Radio 1 for the first R1OT taking place soon.
KneeJerk: New comedy talent The Noise Next Door turn social media platforms into a comedy stage.