Peer into the Future: Second Screen Social TV Companion Apps and the BBC

written by: Richard Kastelein

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At the BBC blog, Victoria Jaye, Head of IPTV and TV Online Content, BBC Vision, presented an overview of the BBC's editorial approach to companion experiences for the Connected TV Summit in London - giving insight into the public broadcasting giant's thoughts of the future concerning second screen, social TV, companion applications.

"As more and more internet connected devices enter the living room, we can extend entertainment beyond broadcast and the TV screen, bringing our shows to life for audiences in ever more exciting ways."

"Our editorial approach to companion experiences is three fold: build on existing audience needs and behaviour, go beyond broadcast, and drive creative renewal and innovation. We want to immerse our audience in the programme they're watching even more by building on the existing needs and behaviours the show inspires. We've learned a lot about this from years of programme-related experimentation on BBC Red Button and BBC Online."

The BBC is cutting new ground - and have already completed closed pilots around two BBC One TV series - Secret Fortune and Frozen Planet.


Secret Fortune "play along" pilot 


Frozen Planet companion experience pilot 

For Frozen Planet, she said they really tried something different and the closed pilot was all about enhancing that journey, offering viewers synchronous information about the animals and habitats featured in the show, along with the opportunity to 'Favourite' that content to consume later. According to her blog:

"One of our participants in the trial was impressed at how this delivered "a new way of viewing my docs". Now, for our first public launch, we want to take the lessons learned from both Secret Fortune and Frozen Planet.



In September 2012, the BBC plans to launch a companion experience for Antiques Roadshow on BBC One - which is one of their flagship programmes for over 35 years.

"...with audiences shouting at their TVs, guessing the value of the antique items brought in by members of the public for valuation, and delighting in their extraordinariness and the stories that lie behind them.

This year, we're going to tap into that audience behaviour by offering a companion experience that combines: guess the value play along (and compare your score), with the ability to go beyond broadcast to find out more about the antiques featured in the programme, with exclusive content and information drawn from across BBC Online and trusted sources from the wider web."

Playing alongside the live broadcast or on-demand or at expert or amateur level, audiences will be able to choose from four value ranges for each antique item featured on the show - of which then will then make their valuation against the clock, before the answer is revealed on the TV.

"If viewers need help in their valuation, they can see what others playing along are estimating using the 'Ask the Nation' function. At the end of each episode, audiences receive their final score, and find out how they ranked compared to the nation.

The companion experience also invites audiences to explore featured antiques in the programme and the historical stories that lie behind them, with content and onward journeys crafted by Roadshow experts and the BBC production team. Audiences can enjoy this content while they watch, or 'Favourite' it for exploring later."

The experience will be available across smart phones, PC, and tablet devices. A version of the play along will also be available on broadcast BBC Red Button.



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