BBC iPlayer – the big changes: Facebook, chat and cross-channel partnerships

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Big changes to the iPlayer were announced today. Here are the three main ones.

1) Friends – there will be a tab for friends on the home page, where you can add in Friends from Facebook and Twitter. Incoporating BBC ID log-ins for Facebook. Each programme comes with a “Recommend to Friends” button. Does the BBC need to build its own social network – no. It’s just a share function.
LIVE from now

2) Integration with Windows Live Messenger (other chat services coming soon): sign in with Live Messenger, see which of your friends are on iPlayer, see what they’re watching, see how far through they are, talk to them about it… You can sync your Player with theirs to jump in exactly with what they’re watching. Invisible for those not interested, but an extra feature for the early adopters who might want to check it out.
OUT in 3/4 weeks

3) Link Partnerships – searches for programmes on BBC will also turn up results for content from other channels: ITV player, Five Demand, 40D.
Sky is considering the offer.
LIVE from now

Other announcements include tweaks and improvement to playing quality, more download options (download whole series, set the download time) and a new recommendations tab where the BBC recommends items it thinks you would like.

Live blog of announcement here

UPDATED: 11.20 26/5/10

Anna Leach


  • I agree with Jeremy, it would need serious improvements before one can expect it to create big news in the tech world

  • I hope that the app for iPad and Android will be a lot more reliable than the current iplayer. Trying to listen to the BBC radio using a computer with the iPlayer is a very unpleasent experience. A 30 minute programme can take double that time to actually listen to it if you include all the pauses, restarts and delays because of bandwidth problems. That’s just for radio so for TV with the greater need for data make sure you allow for plenty of time to actually see the programme . If you do have problems you can forget about getting any help from the BBC. All you get is a series of screens and clicks and more screens eventually you just give up which may of course been the reason why it was created in such a way in the first place.

  • can’t wait for the integration with Google Chat. Does anyone still use Windows Live messenger?

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