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The BBC’s approach to companion experiences


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The BBC are working on companion experiences – additional content offered on a companion screen, and they have revealed their approach on a blog posting.


This is part of what the BBC posted on their blog:

First, what do I mean by ‘companion experiences’?

Broadly, this means additional content offered on a companion screen (PC, mobile, tablet or even the same TV), related to and synchronized with the programme you’re watching on TV. This could be further information, a play along experience, social or control features – the overall aim being to enhance the audiences’ TV viewing.

This isn’t a new idea for the BBC or our audience. We’ve been offering simple, easy to access and entertaining companion activity via BBC Red Button for well over a decade. In fact, Red Button is the BBC’s most successful companion experience to date, attracting 20 million viewers a month – but it’s one that’s confined to the TV screen.

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
• 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.

For Frozen Planet, we tried something different. Frozen Planet, with its awe-inspiring cinematography, invites the audience to be a passenger on a journey into the wonders of natural history. Our closed pilot was 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. One of our participants in the trial was impressed at how this delivered “a new way of viewing my docs”

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.

What do you think of this idea?

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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