Strong Viewer Engagement Leads BBC to Expand Interactive Plans for "Autumnwatch"

--Show Will also Now Have an Eight-Week Run

According to a report Thursday in the UK broadcast-industry trade publication, Broadcast, "Autumnwatch," a spinoff of the popular BBC Two nature series, "Springwatch" (note: the latter is a mostly live-on-location show, broadcast four nights a week in late May and early June, that follows wildlife during the arrival of spring in the UK and that involves a crew of around 100 and around 50 cameras), will have an eight-week run of one 60-minute episode per week (instead of being broadcast over two weeks), due to the strong level of multiplatform engagement the two shows are enjoying.

The audience's engagement with the shows is also leading the BBC to provide more facilities for viewer interaction and social networking on the shows' Web sites, and to add a 30-minute supplemental program for "Autumnwatch" that viewers will be able to access through the red button after each episode, Broadcast reports (note: the supplemental program will be similar to "Springwatch's" 15-minute-long, live red-button extension, "Springwatch Unsprung," which features "Springwatch" presenters interacting with the show's audience in a more "relaxed" format). "We have one of the world's fastest-growing Flickr groups, we are receiving 125 home movies a day, and the number of comments on the Web site is phenomenal," the shows' executive producer, Tim Scoones, told Broadcast. "Just from people's suggestions and tips alone on the Web site, we have enough material and missions for half of the next series already. We've realized our audience is one step ahead of us, so we have to develop the show and its Web site so it can handle the viewer interaction we are now getting. By reconfiguring the show, we will be more reactive to our audience. We will be able to ask very specific questions online, and fold this social media side into the program much more effectively."