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Digital Intelligence February 2011

Digital Strategy data - Digital Intelligence February 2011

Valentine's day is looking expensive for Twitter's suitors. Google and Facebook have bid up the value of the young social tool to a staggering $10bn. Valuations from Huffington Post to Pandora are running far ahead of revenue multiples, and there's an echo of the late 90s dotcom panic, but what is the price of an acceleration really worth?

Whoever buys Twitter gets to leap forward in integrated mobile and social networking. They'll also get a massive, vibrant network as well as a technology base and challenger brand. Added to that are the insights, goodwill and expertise of some of the best minds in mobile and social networking. And on top they get to lock out the competitor from accessing any of this. In an emerging market, this type of strategy can be game changing.

Accelerating digital brands has become a theme for 2011. Alas, most firms don't have the luxury of pockets deep enough to buy technology or social start-ups. They rely on building their own strategies, content and social approach. The stories in this edition can help inform your digital strategy, and there's more at the end of the links. And in case you fancy a last minute Twitter bid, we've made a history of Twitter's rise here in our archive.

Read February 2011

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BBC launches free iPlayer app for iPad and Android

The BBC has released free, standalone iPlayer apps for iPad and Android, with plans to launch a subscription-based version in the US in April. The iPad edition features a more suitable, tablet-sized layout than its web-app predecessor.

The app includes panels for featured and most popular shows, a "For You" page that finds programmes the viewer might like based on previous viewings, channel or station guide layout, a vast array of categories and a search bar.


11/02/2011  |  Full story...

YouView web TV platform postponed until 2012

The launch of web TV service IPTV service YouView has been delayed until early 2012 due to the ‘growing scale and complexity of the project’. YouView (formely known as Project Canvas) will let viewers with broadband enabled sets access to video-on-demand content from BBC ITV and C4, in partnership with technology firms Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk.

The service was originally scheduled in to go live in the first half of 2011 but the joint venture will have a product in trial by the end of 2011, with a full consumer launch to follow by early 2012.
The service was announced as Project Canvas in December 2008 with the aim of bringing IPTV to UK households via broadband-enabled set-top boxes, in much the same way as Freeview and Freesat currently do with digital TV.


10/02/2011  |  Full story...

BBC to cut 360 online jobs as web budget slashed by 25%

The BBC is to cut about 200 websites in a cost-cutting drive, resulting in the loss of up to 360 jobs at the broadcaster over the next two years. The changes will see BBC Online's budget cut by £34m. Among the sites to close include teen site Switch and community sites h2g2 and 606.

The plans are part of the BBC's cost-cutting measures to make 20% savings as a result of the Licence Fee settlement. The changes are intended to make the BBC website more distinctive and reduce competition with commercial websites. Skills website RAW, creative teen service Blast and documentary website Video Nation will also be closed under the reorganisation.

24/01/2011  |  Full story...

Digital Intelligence: Online video special report

Digital Strategy data - Digital Intelligence online video special report

2010 was the year video mainstreamed on the web in Western Europe, so when YouTube released their top 10 clips, we thought it time to collate some of the video stories from the last year. Together they provide an important reminder of the scale online video has grown to. So as you plan your web strategies for 2011, if video is not already high on the agenda, then be sure to review its potential. Online video can tell stories as powerfully as television, create interaction as strong as games, showcase products as well as an in-store demo, and engage your audiences as deeply as social media.

Read Digital Intelligence online video special report

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BBC Online budget to be cut by 25%

BBC Online’s budget will be slashed by 25 percent, as the broadcaster pledged to ‘do fewer things better’ when its comes to digital, the BBC Trust has confirmed. In a strategy document released today, called ‘The BBC’s Strategy, Putting Quality First’, the Trust said that it is reducing BBC Online’s budget in an attempt to improve services.

“We will pursue a 25 percent reduction in the BBC Online budget, to improve the overall quality and coherence of the service and ‘do fewer things better’,” the Trust wrote in its report, adding that more details about the changes involved will be revealed “soon”.


16/12/2010  |  Full story...

Chatroulette, Take That and Facebook: Google reveals top UK search terms of 2010

Google has released its annual Zeitgeist report into the UK’s search habits online browsing habits, listing the terms most commonly searched on its site this year. The lists are collated in an attempt to give a snapshot of the country's online interests.

According to the Google Zeitgeist 2010, the webcam chat site Chatroulette was the UK's fastest rising search term, while tickets to see the re-formed band Take That were the most commonly searched in their category. Perhaps reflecting the higher voter turnout at this year's general election than in 2005, the top two searches in the news category were "election 2010" and "register to vote".


10/12/2010  |  Full story...

BBC to launch paid-for iPlayer iPad app in US

The BBC is working on a version of its iPlayer to be launched in the US, in the form of a paid-for iPad application, according to a new report. The reports that the 'Global iPlayer', which is in pilot form until it passes scrutiny by the BBC Trust, will only be available outside the UK, where the broadcaster is allowed to charge for access to its content.

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the publicly-funded broadcaster, said that it would make the iPlayer available to iPad owners in certain target markets in the middle of next year. Luke Bradley-Jones, managing director of, said there would be a monthly subscription and that the US would be among the first markets to get access to the iPlayer app, with a decision on where the iPlayer app would launch first to be made in the new year.


06/12/2010  |  Full story...

Digital Intelligence November 2010

Digital Strategy data - Digital Intelligence November 2010

After years of anticipating the mobile web, it seems most marketers are struggling to make it work for them. Latest research here in the UK revealed half of firms don't check their sites on mobiles - and we'd speculate that for those that do the findings can be pretty uncomfortable. Most brands fail to ensure their sites work well on mobile browsers, and fail to give consumers what they're most likely to be looking for on the move. Digital strategies need to play to the consumer's mindset as well as the strengths of the channel, and like the early days of the web, more brands get it wrong than right.

Exceptions include Gap in the US, where this month their Facebook places promotion (10,000 jeans for the first 10,000 consumers to use their mobiles to 'check-in' at their checkouts) was clearly a great route to crowd-sourcing in mobile social spaces, creating 10,000 signposts for other consumers to follow.

Facebook also had us adding more 'fan' badges as their online ad targeting propelled them to take nearly a quarter of US web display ads. For media planners the offer of campaigns with almost no media wastage is intoxicating, and even the British Royal Family are now targetable - embracing Facebook with the launch of their first monarchy page; time to become 'Friends' maybe?

And finally if you're a busy digital exec planning to escape off the grid this Christmas, rest assured you can now check your emails even while climbing Everest - thanks to the Nepalese telco planting the mountain's first 3G base station. You never need be away from email again!

Read November 2010

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iPlayer going global: BBC plans to charge overseas viewers

The BBC has announced plans to make its popular iPlayer online video platform available for International users, for a fee. The announcement was made by John Smith, Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide.

Although there has been no official statement as yet from the BBC Trust, Smith has already gone ahead and announced the approved plans in an interview with the Telegraph by stating “Not only will that mean international fans of, for example, Doctor Who can get their fix legitimately, but it has the potential of opening up a new revenue stream for the entire UK production industry.”


10/11/2010  |  Full story...

Ofcom rejects YouView ‘anti-competitive’ complaints

Ofcom will not investigate YouView, despite claims from rivals that the TV-on-demand scheme from BBC, ITV, C4 and Five is anti-competitive. However, You View, previously know as Project Canvas was warned that the communications watchdog will act if it blocks rival platforms and services in future.

YouView is a collaboration of seven broadcasters and telecommunication companies including BBC, ITV, BT and TalkTalk. It plans to use a branded interface to bring on-demand web services to set-top boxes. Set to launch next year, YouView will develop a standard framework from which broadcasters and other providers can build TV-accessible online services, such as BBC iPlayer, and which hardware makers can incorporate.


20/10/2010  |  Full story...

Digital Intelligence October 2010

Digital Strategy data - Digital Intelligence October 2010

When exciting new research landed from TNS, we thought we'd share it straight away rather than wait till the end of the month. Here are the topline points, with more on research and announcements from the global giants that caught our eye over the last two weeks.

Digital Life is a global study into people's online behaviour. TNS interviewed around 50,000 people from over 45 countries to explore the different ways internet behaviours are evolving. They used consistent questions and built an interactive dashboard that lets you compare the data.

Other stories we've been tracking include the race to TV (launches from Google and Apple), UK online adspend rising 10% (to just under £2bn in the first half of 2010), YouTube winning the copyright case in Spain, and in Antarctica Google's Streetview making its debut.

As you plan your 2011 digital strategy, let us know if you need more on any of these areas, or support from the management coaches at the Digital Training Academy to ensure you choose the right digital channels for your audience.

Read October 2010

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Digital Intelligence September 2010

Digital Strategy data - Digital Intelligence September 2010

Google went 'instant', Apple went Ping, Microsoft put IE 9 into beta and Twitter got pictures: what a month for giant digital product development from digital giants.

All these impact on how digital strategies work for brands - and that's why to get them working well the strategy needs to be flexible to deal with the constant evolution of the landscape. Technology and business horizons are constantly expanding, the attention of customers is migrating, and brands need to be agile enough to deliver what their customers need today, not yesterday.

Among the social networks Facebook gave social media metrics a much needed boost with their new analytics tools (ROI gradually creeping into social media), Twitter started looking even more like a Facebook-lite, and Facebook launched location tools to prevent young socnets like FourSquare gaining the traction of Twitter.

Mobile device wars intensified with Blackberry and Samsung lining up tablet launches, and the largest smartphone maker - Nokia - reorganising 'in preparation for the next billion mobile web users' and its upcoming high-end device launches. The online video world was equally hectic with product development announcements from Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and Google, proving that the video platforms have much more yet to deliver.

Read September 2010

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Project Canvas to launch Web TV next year as ‘YouView’ brand

Project Canvas, the on-demand TV service backed by BBC ITV, BT and Channel 4, has offially rebranded as YouView, and is set to launch as a beta test in the first quarter of next year.The site aims to bring video-on-demand programming and services to Freeview and Freesat.

From next year viewers will have the choice of a subscription-free YouView set top box that will combine their favourite digital TV channels with the last seven days' catch up TV, as well as bringing a full range of on-demand services and interactive extras straight to the living room. The seven partners in the venture, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT, Arqiva and Channel 5 – have now formed YouView TV Ltd, pledging about £18m each to cover the first four years of operation from April 2010.


16/09/2010  |  Full story...

BBC iPlayer offers downloads before shows are broadcast on TV

BBC has revamped its iPlayer online video platfor, with a number of new features, including the ability to let users download shows before they are aired on TV, and then watched them straight after broadcast. Previously, users had to wait for the show to finish and be uploaded to the iPlayer before watching or downloading it.

Other changes to the iPlayer include being able to recommend shows to friends on Facebook and Twitter, a list suggested programmes users may like based on their iPlayer-viewing habits, the ability to create a library of favourite shows and a 'pop-out' player.


08/09/2010  |  Full story...

Five rejoins Project Canvas

Channel Five has reversed its decision, made only six weeks ago, to pull out of the UK television industry’s project to allow consumers to see video programmes via the internet. Project Canvas now includes again all the terrestrial broadcasters – the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 remained involved when Channel Five left for financial reasons last month – as well as BT, Carphone Warehouse and the infrastructure owner Arqiva. It is looking for further partners.

The reversal was expected following the purchase of Five by Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group from RTL, the pan-European broadcaster, earlier this month. “Project Canvas is set to shape the future of broadcasting and open up new and exciting possibilities for viewers,” Mr Desmond said in a statement on Tuesday.


01/09/2010  |  Full story...

Digital Intelligence August 2010

Digital Strategy data - Digital Intelligence August 2010

The pace of Google's acquisitions is astonishing: Jambool, Social Gold and social apps maker Slide all became GOOG, and there's clear interest in visual search firm - the new frontier in search. Add to that their PayPal integration with Android and its clear Google's focus today is as much about social, apps, and the web on the move as it is about Search.

Facebook matched the pace with the launch of their Q&A service and the bedding in of CEOP, both of which are strategically core. Facebook clocked up record access levels at work here in the UK, moved into top place in India, and no doubt its stickiness will rise even higher as TV networks like the UK's Channel 5 start to embed their top shows into FB's TV on-demand platform. As Google gears up for Social, Facebook is gearing up for Search and Video.

In the mobile space, the acceleration echoes the late 90s' Tipping Point when the web mainstreamed. All brands we spoke with this month now put mobile into the digital plan - even if only at small levels - and media owners are finally seeing mobile as a core platform. Innovation from device manufacturers continued - especially Nokia and Apple - while Blackberry's network came under the long-expected scrutiny by governments across the Middle East and India, no doubt triggering a massive loss of customers along the way.

Read August 2010

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BBC to put 88-year back catalogue online

The BBC is planning to create a complete online broadcast history of the corporation dating back to its foundation in 1922, as part of its ‘Genome Project’. Starting this process, thousands of back copies of the Radio Times are being studied in a bid to compile a list of every BBC programme broadcast in its 88 years.

The Radio Times was ‘an ideal place to begin’ the BBC Genome project, said manager Helen Papadopoulos. ‘It contains a record of everything we intended to broadcast – even if what actually went on air wasn’t what we planned to show,’ she wrote on a BBC blog. ‘And it is in a structure and format that people recognise, with basic but consistent details for all programmes, along with regional variations.’


24/08/2010  |  Full story...

Virgin Media files complaint about ‘anti-competitive’ Project Canvas

Virgin Media has lodged a complaint with Ofcom, aimed at halting the BBC-backed video-on-demand service Project Canvas. The cable giant says the project, which is developing common standards for net TV in the UK, is anti-competitive. BT, Channel 4 and ITV are partners alongside the BBC.

It was given the green light in May, when the Office of Fair Trading ruled it was not a merger, but Virgin Media said it could destroy the online TV market. It said the collaboration between the three most prominent public service broadcasters would "significantly and irreparably harm" the TV sector. Describing it as the "national health glasses" of the TV world, Virgin said it would stifle innovation.


04/08/2010  |  Full story...

Government hints at plans for internet TV licence fee

British viewers who watch TV programmes through their computers and who do not own television sets may be made to pay the licence fee as early as next year.

Currently viewers do not have to pay the licence fee if they only watch TV programmes through a computer.


26/07/2010  |  Full story...

BBC iPlayer receives 7m mobile requests during June

The number of mobile requests for the BBC's iPlayer service grew by 1m in June, reaching a new high of 7m monthly requests.

Mobile traffic was boosted by iPlayer access on the Apple iPad, which already accounts for 10% of all requests from portable devices.


22/07/2010  |  Full story...

BBC news website links to Facebook and Twitter

The BBC has updated its news website, with a new layout, extra video features and tools that let readers link stories to Facebook and Twitter. The broadcaster said it had used ideas submitted from the public in order to research the redesign.

The redesigned BBC News website, features integration with sites such as Facebook and Twitter, making it easier to share stories with friends. The main menu has moved to the top of the page and there is more emphasis on the stories the BBC considers to be the most important. There are more video stories and the new video player is bigger, with improved playback quality.


15/07/2010  |  Full story...

BBC Trust saves 6 Music, cuts online budget by 25%

The BBC Trust has rejected the BBC's plans to close the digital radio station 6 Music, but has backed proposals to shake up news provision on BBC local radio and cut 25 per cent of the funding for the BBC website. The Trust, which is the ruling body of the BBC, has also backed the case for closing the Asian Network digital radio station.

The rulings come from a published response today to the Strategic Review put forward by director general Mark Thompson in March. It is part of a process which will detail the corporation's plans for the rest of the current BBC charter period, which runs until 2016.


05/07/2010  |  Full story...

Project Canvas gets green light from BBC Trust

Project Canvas, the online TV project involving BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and TalkTalk given approval from the BBC Trust, providing the project sticks to certain agreements. The news follows the go-ahead by the Office of Fair Trading last month.

Concerning a partnership between BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and TalkTalk the BBC Trust gave its approval after extensive consultation. It will now review the BBC's involvement in Project Canvas twelve months after it's launched to consumers.


28/06/2010  |  Full story...

BBC iPlayer gets personal… and starts linking to rivals

The BBC has unveiled a new-look iPlayer with a simpler interface, higher-quality streams and more personalised content. The media player will also link to content on rival platforms and let users share shows via Facebook and Twitter. The iPlayer beta is now live and the corporation expects to launch the full version by the end of June.

New features include integration with Windows Live Messenger, a simplified user interface, a more personalised design and other social features. The new iPlayer will also list programmes from other catch-up services including ITV Player, 4oD, Demand Five and SeeSaw, and directly link to the programmes. Though this might seem like an unusual move, the BBC's director of future media and technology Erik Huggers explained that it wanted to double the amount of traffic it sent into "the broader ecosystem" but insisted that it would not be sharing any technology.


01/06/2010  |  Full story...

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