Common User

Me rambling on.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

BBC Awaydays, a chill and Time Travel

Paula Milne who wrote The Virgin Queen which starts on BBC ONE tonight but seems to have gone out on PBS in the States already, is interviewed in The Observer this morning.

Whenever I hear the BBC have gone on an awayday I get a chill. They go to some hotel, split up into groups and come up with these headings like 'historical' and 'contemporary' and 'transsexual'.

The quote comes from a Drama writers "chat" debating whether we are currently living through a golden age of UK TV drama. Coincidentally the only 3 dramas I'm currently watching on TV are all time travel based. Life On Mars, Johnny and the Bomb and (waiting for the return of) Doctor Who. Nicholas Lyndhurst; you have a lot to answer for.

Monday, January 09, 2006

"We must change again" - Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson has given a long interview to kick off the *new* Observer's Media section. The paper's James Robinson reveals, that alongside robust defences of the licence fee and citing BBC News as the best example of how the BBC is moving into the future; (my bold)

He visited California before Christmas on a fact-finding mission, meeting executives from Google, Apple and Hollywood studios, among others, to 'swap ideas and experiences. I certainly didn't feel that anyone there was ahead of our thinking'.

Monday, January 02, 2006, ABC and Lists

My colleague; Helen Lippell has written a piece for the Information Architecture journal; Boxes and Arrows outlining the work and preparation that helped her overhaul's A-Z tool,
"repositioning the site index as a viable secondary navigation tool." (next to Search).
The re-architecture of the A-Z last year substantially improved the findability of content around our rather complex site and Helen has put together an excellent summary of why this service is an integral part of our network. She also has a good anecdote about the Grand Vizier of Persia.

Ashley Highfield, 2006 and TV on the internet

My boss at the BBC; Ashley Highfield is asked by the Independent to predict the "people who will make the most impact in the next 12 months". His choices:
Ben Verwaayen, 53, Chief Executive of BT
"After many years of tinkering at the edges of the media industry, BT's stars may be coming into alignment in this corner of the firmament. With broadband fast enough for television watching at less than £10 a month, internet penetration set to pass two thirdsof the UK and on-demand content rights issues being resolved, coupled with a great looking TV over iP service, 2006 could be the year BT becomes the next Sky."

Sergey Brin, 32, Co-founder of Google
"Well hardly a new kid on the block. But what they're planning on doing in "video search" has a direct and very significant relevance for the BBC and other broadcasters. They plan to index every piece of information in the world. Having recently seen some of their stuff in development, I'd not bet against their plans for world domination".
Over in the Guardian, Matt Wells in a survey of 2006 media also refers to BT's upcoming TV proposition, a similar offering from Wannado/Orange, mainstream marketing of TV via mobiles and the long heralded and, currently under trial, BBC's TV/Radio over IP offering MyBBCplayer as potential things to watch over the next 12 months;
" Breathing life into Mark Thompson's vision of viewers being able to consume BBC content at any time on a variety of devices, its progress will be closely watched. The corporation is also expected to launch a new search offering."
Perhaps Matt and Ashley should have had a look at my restless colleague Ben Metcalfe who, wary of the developments above, pinpoints the constraints for businesses dependent on on demand IP services as he also has a go at the 2006 list game:

The speed of Internet access in the UK ’slows down’ as the average monthly transfer soars from 3Gig/pm to 50gig/pm. UK ISP’s, being billed by their bandwidth usage in telephone exchanges by BT (and LLU provides), cannot continue to support ever growing amounts of P2P. They concentrate on revenue-generating services such as VoIP and use connectivity profiling and shaping to limit P2P, Usenet, downloads, etc (maybe only providing access via these kinds of connections at 25% of the user’s normal connection speed). This causes problems for content providers building on-demand IP-based services and generally frustrates users.
Those new year predictions are hard to escape wherever I look but two of the best are this ironic two liner (as a commenter swiftly points out) moan from the man who invented Entertainment Weekly; Jeff Jarvis and back from blogging retirement Simon Waldman's 12 month Web Apps round up.