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[etech] Programme Information Pages

Another BBC talk. Gavin Bell, Matt Biddulph, and Tom Coates. How can you make media objects — i.e., all the programs ‘n’ stuff the BBC has — addressable? And then what could you do with them?

To make a program addressable, they say, you give it an identifier. (Their first ever identifier was kr7rm.) All BBC and radio programming will be addressable. 40,000 hours of national tv broadcast across 8 tv stations every year. 76,000 hours of national radio across ten networks.

They say: “This is what we might be doing after we get bored of broadcast.”

The content they deal with is complex. What’s a program? There are versions and edits, different broadcasts of the same program. There are series. There are specials. Documentaries. Films. There are “time slots.” Bulletins.

The data is scattered throughout the organization. There are maybe 15 systems in the BBC to track this data.

How about the logistical problems? Schedule changes, breaking news, legal issues, the sheer scale of the BBC.

The core of the representation is the episode. e.g., episode 2 of Absolutely Fabulous in Series 1. They create a web page for every episode of every program the BBC creates. They want to make the episodes as rich with information as possible, but the Web page has to be simple. Every individual episode will be uniquely identifiable and addressable forever via a URL. They also have persistent schedules so you can see any program that aired on any day.

They move everything into a big database using a complex data format, Standard Media Exchange Framework (SMEF) that includes more firleds than they care about, including awards. Anyone in BBC can connect to it via an API.

Things you could build on top of this: Statistics. Audio/visual on demand. RSS feed to tell you when an episode is. Social software: What’s the most watched program in your circle, buddy lists, etc. [Technorati tags: ]

One Response to “[etech] Programme Information Pages”

  1. Links for 2005-03-19

    A really nice and positive response to our ETech paper on Programme Information Pages Yeah, I got quite over-excited by the end of the paper and couldn’t stop droning on about it… Robert Kaye on the “Reinventing Radio” talk…


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