The BBC and their enormous website

Part of the BBC’s review of what they’re doing now and how they want to keep doing it in the future involves looking at their presence on the web.

I found an interesting post on the Internet Blog regarding the use of direct URLs on the BBC, and how freaking many of them there are! The plan is to reduce the list and in doing so, it will help them to reimagine the way the site works. I think.

Here’s a few from the bottom of the list (you can see the whole thing at the end of the above linked post, or in this handy text file). The review doesn’t count redirecting URLs that are there to make things easier for visitors and for reading out in various shows.

Zombies!

The paragraph I find most curious in the Beeb’s post is this:

Then there is the question of what to do with sites to which we no longer wish to commit resources. For some time now we have been mothballing older sites like bbc.co.uk/testthenation so that users understand that we are not keeping them up to date. That is fine for now, but the user experience on these sites will inevitably degrade over time, especially as we upgrade the infrastructure which powers BBC Online – due over the course of the next year. So for sites that we don’t want to modernise or simply delete, there is a question about the best way to archive them for future generations and we are looking at the options now. If anyone has a solution to this, we’d be pleased to hear from them.

What is the best way?

The future of publishing

Dorling Kindersley have released one of their internal videos that was created for a sales conference within the group. Apparently it was such a hit that they wanted to release it externally and give it a wider audience.

It’s good, although you have to have some patience to make it worthwhile.

We found this via the OUseful.Info blog and there are some interesting thoughts over there on how it is not an original idea but a fascinating storytelling device.

From an MFC point of view, the video gives us an insight into how a big publisher sees the industry at the moment. They realise that consumers don’t all care about Lady Gaga which is good. However, there isn’t much about innovation in there – merely reassurance that the publishing industry isn’t dead. Honest.

YouTube vs. Viacom – The gloves are off

The background

Viacom is suing YouTube for the copyrighted material that keeps appearing on the video sharing site. Viacom thinks YouTube should do more to stop it happening, whilst YouTube are hoping for safe harbour from the DMCA – meaning they do their best but ultimately can’t be held responsible for what users upload.

The blog post

On the official YouTube blog, a post appeared yesterday with some rather revealing information. The entire thing is worth a read but here are some snippets:

The DMCA (and common sense) recognizes that content owners, not service providers like YouTube, are in the best position to know whether a specific video is authorized to be on an Internet hosting service.

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses.

Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

The legal rule that Viacom seeks would require YouTube — and every Web platform — to investigate and police all content users upload, and would subject those web sites to crushing liability if they get it wrong.

Complete and utter madness.

By now we know that clips and highlights are good for the industry. Who would even have heard of Susan Boyle if it weren’t for YouTube? Viacom know this, it seems, but are trying to pretend that they don’t… to what end?

The big bad
YouTube strongly suggest that if Viacom win this case, the “crushing liability” mentioned above would signal the end of many, many user upload businesses. Sharing content would get very, very tricky. Viacom might win a handful of money for themselves but the damages they’d do to the internet in general could never be compensated.

Compare my radio

Have you seen a new site called Compare My Radio? It’s from some lab type people at Absolute Radio, and is currently in Beta, but it’s a very clever idea.

Their short little blurb says:

Compare My Radio tracks UK radio stations’ “now playing” information and makes sense of it so you don’t have to.

The basic premise seems to be to find a radio station that is right for you, depending on what you want from it. You can search for an artist and find out who has played them the most

Or you can pick a particular station, and view all kinds of statistics about it – including the most-played songs, how many songs they have played in the last 30 days, and how many of those are unique. The variety guage is also interesting, although as a percentage, I’m not quite sure what it’s telling me.

The compare feature is also rather good, as it allows you to put two rival stations up against each other. It advises you the kind of artists each station plays, and looks at their playlist crossover, and again their ability to play unique songs rather than repeats all the time.

Radio isn’t exactly top of my list of priorities when it comes to consuming music and more, but if it was, I can see this is a fabulous tool.

A conversation with Leo and Mr C

I found this video on the Inside TWiT TV blog, posted by Dane Golden, who is unfortunately credited as Dave in the video itself. It’s a 20 minute look inside the TWiT cottage including chats with Leo, Dane and Colleen – the engineering genius behind it all. Well worth a watch, particularly if you are crazy Leo fans like us. The video builds on something I wrote about previously – whether watching live streams is the future.

After watching the video, Mr C and I began discussing what we had seen and I pushed for him to write a blog post. He said he was too busy, so instead, I grabbed a microphone and recorded the conversation. It was a bit impromptu and the audio wasn’t that great, so I have transcribed it instead. One day I will get Mr C onto an MFC podcast. Anyway, here are our words – we meander around the topic and don’t really come to any definitive conclusions. Interesting, nonetheless.

Continue reading “A conversation with Leo and Mr C”

I’m sure there are budgetary reasons for this as well

Behold! I am back with another podcast, and in a relatively reasonable timeframe as well! I had planned to do this a few days earlier, but a sore throat kept me from my microphone. Hopefully all the stories are still relevant!

I’m sure there are budgetary reasons for this as well

On episode seven of Media. Future. Change. we investigate the buzz behind Google Buzz, who is living in a box, why there are cutbacks at the BBC, and how you can keep track of your dog.

Download episode

Length: 10:26

Transcript

Well, hello there, welcome to Media. Future. Change. This is Episode 7. Lots of interesting things have been happening over the past couple of weeks, so it’s about time I updated you on ten of them that have caught my eye. I have also been blogging a bit more recently as well, so make sure you check out mediafuturechange.com for more stuff. Hey, and if you have a topic you want to share, why not write up a guest post? There’s always room for more ideas, opinions and authors. Now, let us get on.
Continue reading “I’m sure there are budgetary reasons for this as well”

Full length TWiT on YouTube

I’ve mentioned in a couple of MFC episodes that YouTube are doing more and more to bring content into the site, moving away from the home video side of things, and dealing with broadcasters and networks.

I’ve not really invested too much time in watching what’s available, although I do keep my eye on what deals they’re making. It came to my attention yesterday that our hero Leo Laporte has his TWiT videos available on YouTube now as well.

  1. This means they are embeddable.
  2. They are really long, so although Leo has clearly done a deal with YouTube, it bodes well for the future.
  3. I’m impressed with all the different ways Leo is making his content available. Tivo and all that business. I just want an iTunes feed, and I’m good to go.
  4. Have we mentioned how awesome Leo is?

I posted a message on Twitter about this, and it seems like I’m not the only one who found this to be brand new information. There are plenty of videos on there though, so he must have been doing it for a while. Excellent stuff.