BBC Trumpets Success of its Interactive Coverage of Radio 1's Big Weekend

--Unveils Plans for Interactive TV Coverage of Glastonbury Music Festival

The BBC said Wednesday that this year's "Radio 1's Big Weekend" event, an annual free music festival produced by the corporation's flagship rock and pop station, was "the most interactive to date," with record numbers accessing the corporation's coverage of the event via the Internet, mobile phones and the red button.

According to the BBC, a major push was made this year to use multiplatform interactivity in order to make "the audience feel more connected to the event." New additions to this year's coverage included six Webcams which provided live footage from various locations including the main stage, an exclusive "Live Lounge," and a location that provided an overview of the entire festival; as well as a backstage camera that the BBC says used new technology to allow audiences to interact with Radio 1 DJ's, musicians and crew in real time via live chat. According to the BBC, the various Webcams' feeds received over a million hits, and over 56,000 comments were received during the live chat sessions.

While the Radio 1 Big Weekend Web site received 7.4 million impressions this year, up just slightly from last year's 7.3 million, the site received 5.3 million video requests, compared to one million last year, the BBC says. The BBC's mobile coverage of the festival also saw significant growth: according to the corporation, mobile page impressions more than tripled over the weekend, and total page impressions were up 361% to 143,000 (compared to 31,000 last year). Among the BBC's more unusual mobile offerings this year: special Bluetooth-enabled toilets that allowed festival attendees who used them to get exclusive content on their handsets.

The BBC also made coverage of the festival available through the red button, including catch-up coverage that was offered during the week after the event. The red-button coverage generated around 1.1 million views (compared to 902, 000 last year), according to the corporation, making it the most popular music session to be shown through the red button so far this year. "The interactive element around Radio 1's Big Weekend is a crucial way for people to experience the event," Mark Friend, the BBC's controller of multiplatform and interactive for A&M, said in a prepared statement. "The five-fold increase in video requests (to 5.3 million) shows that audiences truly value the multiplatform content we provide and I'm pleased we were able to take our flagship free music event to an even wider audience. We innovated successfully around live Web streaming and live chat which really resonated with our audience. We're already looking forward to how we can replicate this success with our Glastonbury coverage."

In related news: The BBC has announced its plans to offer supplemental coverage of the upcoming Glastonbury music festival through the red-button and through its Web site. Starting 7:00PM on Friday June 26th, 4:20PM on Saturday June 27th, and 5:30PM on Sunday June 28th, viewers will be able to press red to access five streams, including 30-minute catch-ups of highlights of most of the sets that the BBC is filming, and one stream "dedicated to visualizing [BBC Radio] 6 Music's coverage" of the event. In addition, after the festival, viewers will be able to press red to access catch-up coverage.

Online, meanwhile, a dedicated area of the BBC's Web site ( will offer feeds from live Webcams situated around the festival and 6 Music's studio. According to the corporation, its Web site will offer 40 videos of performances from all the festival's big stages, plus backstage interviews, and coverage of every act from the BBC's own "BBC Introducing" arena.