History UK Launches New Channel Web Sites Featuring Brightcove Video Player, DVR Integration

--Brightcove Says It Is Looking to Fill 30 New Job Openings This Quarter

The History Channel (UK), a joint venture between A&E Television Networks (AETN) and BSkyB, has launched new consumer Web sites for its History (history.co.uk) and Military History (militaryhistory.co.uk) channels. The sites, which were co-produced with AETN International and which debuted July 16th, feature a video player from US broadband video publishing solutions provider, Brightcove, remote recording functionality for the Sky+ DVR, and an interactive timeline. The sites are also billed as offering streamlined navigation, with "clear menus that allow for easy access to content."

Later this month, The History Channel (UK) also plans to launch redesigned Web sites for its Bio and Crime & Investigation Network channels, re-using the functionality of the new History site. AETN also plans to upgrade a number of its other international channels' Web sites this year, the company says. "As we approached the redesign, we wanted to create an holistic user experience combining the Web and TV viewing, through video, PVR access and other exciting planned features," History Channel (UK) digital media manager, Andrew Watt, said in a prepared statement. "We think we've achieved that." Added Fabienne Fourquet, AETN's senior director of international digital media: "I'm thrilled about the relaunch of the UK Web sites but it's only the beginning of our international digital properties' roll-out. The rest of Europe, Latin America and South East Asia will follow within the next two years and offer richer video experiences as well as immersive content and more apps, games and engaging features around our programs and channel brands."

The redesigned sites allow visitors to watch a range of video through the Brightcove video player, including pieces from History series, videos for featured events from "This Day in History," and original series such as "Great and Telling Tales." According to The History Channel (UK), the Brightcove player will serve as an international video asset management system. The sites' Sky+ remote recording capability, meanwhile, is enabled through integration with BSkyB's TV listings API. It allows visitors to the sites to record programs remotely from those programs' dedicated pages: "visitors to history.co.uk and militaryhistory.co.uk can simply view program listings from the networks, and with the click of a mouse schedule their PVR to record upcoming programs," The History Channel (UK) says. Finally, the interactive timeline allows a user to click on a date in order to access short-form video, "This Day in History" articles and videos, Encyclopedia Britannica articles, and a list of programs--all related to the date selected by the user. The sites also provide dedicated mini-sites for series and specials airing on the channels. The min-sites feature original short-form video, information on programs and the historical characters they feature, image galleries, maps, games, and quizzes, among other things.

The new sites were produced by Andrew Watt and Debbie James from History Channel (UK) and Fabienne Fourquet and Christopher Altman from AETN International. The sites' design and user experience were developed by Poke (which also recently teamed with Brightcove on Manchester City's broadband video-enabled site--see the article published on itvt.com, July 20th); CMS and backend were handled by Lshift; usability testing was overseen by Amberlight; and SEO was provided by Big Mouth Media.

In other Brightcove-related news: In a posting on its corporate blog, Monday, the company announced that it is looking to fill 30 new job openings during the current quarter, across nearly all of its departments, including engineering, customer support, systems/operations, sales and business development. The company says that it is "scaling globally to meet the incredible demand" for its platform and that its customer base "has nearly doubled" over the past year and now includes media companies and marketers in 27 countries. It also claims that its business is profitable. 12 of the new positions had been posted on Brightcove's jobs board as [itvt] went to press.

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