Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): BBC, Connected TV, QR Codes

--BBC Launches BBC News Product for Connected TV's
--BBC Exec Outlines Plans to Adapt Red-Button Service for Connected TV
--New BBC Cooking Show to Offer Interactivity via QR Codes

Due to the large volume of news generated over the past few days, we are covering today's stories in abbreviated round-up/summary form:

  • The BBC has announced the launch of a "BBC News product" for connected TV. "The BBC News product for connected TV combines existing video and text content from BBC News Online and will initially be made available on Samsung's range of Smart TV's," the corporation states in its press materials. "It will subsequently be made available on a range of connected devices over time. The development reflects the BBC's strategy to deliver greater value for money for license-fee payers by repurposing BBC Online products for a wide range of devices. The launch aims to tap into the growing Internet-connected TV market, with predictions that almost 36 million TV's with built-in Internet capability will be installed in UK homes by the end of 2016. The BBC News product for connected TV has been designed as a complement to the BBC's live 24-hour news channel. Editorial teams in the newsrooms will curate clips around the clock to run alongside text-based news from BBC News Online--all started, stopped, and navigated via the remote control." The BBC News product for connected TV is available in the Samsung Apps store free of charge; an advertising-supported international version of the product is slated to be rolled out by BBC Worldwide. "Internet-connected TV is developing as a medium and presents an exciting and engaging complement to our existing TV services," Phil Fearnley, general manager of news and knowledge for BBC Future Media, said in a prepared statement. "As we've seen with BBC iPlayer in the UK, and our global smartphone applications, audiences enjoy the freedom and flexibility of BBC services at a time and place that suits them--whether on the move or on the living-room TV. Looking forward, we are particularly interested in creating seamless, personalized, and location-aware experiences of BBC News across all connected devices--mobiles, tablets, computers, and TV's. Internet-connected TV is still in its infancy, but innovations such as this hint at the long-term creative potential of the Internet as a medium." (Note: Fearnley and the BBC News Web site editor, Steve Herrmann, have posted blog entries discussing the new BBC News product and its significance; and the BBC's director of future media, Ralph Rivera, has posted a blog entry outlining the philosophy of "connected storytelling" that underlies the new app.)
  • Meanwhile, the BBC's director of distribution, Alix Pryde, has outlined some thoughts on how the corporation's Red Button interactive TV service will evolve to take advantage of connected TV. The BBC is seeking to "reinvent the experience of pressing red" to build "a new dynamic bridge that responds to the channel and program you're watching," Pryde told Pocket-Lint's Stuart Miles, explaining that, for example, viewers of a children's program could press red to access related educational games online, viewers of a news story could press red to access additional coverage online, and viewers of an arts program could press red to access related programming from the BBC archive. Pryde stated that services such as she described should be available on connected TV's within "a couple" of years.
  • The BBC has also announced a new cooking series for BBC One, entitled "The Good Cook," that will offer interactivity via Quick Response (QR) codes. The six-part show is scheduled to premiere next month. "Audiences with QR-enabled phones will be able to use this interactive technology to link directly to the recipes and ingredients featured in the program via the BBC Food mobile Web site," the corporation states in its press materials. "Available while watching the series live on TV, BBC iPlayer and from the Web site, the audience can get the full details for each recipe and a list of ingredients by simply scanning the QR codes on the screen onto their mobile smartphone." Said BBC One controller, Danny Cohen: "I want BBC One to lead the way with interactivity and technological innovation so that we can keep engaging audiences in new ways. I hope viewers will find this experiment with QR codes to be a simple but useful tool to help them re-create the recipes they see on screen."
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