ETech – Enriching Broadcast with Social Software

Presented by a bunch of BBC chaps.
Importance of radio. 90% of reach among UK adults. Radio (in the UK) is starting to retake TV. Radio could be reemerging. BBC radio shows over 6M hours of radio programming per week. How will radio change? Radio is a broadcast model. How to get a return path though? SMS the way they tried.

The ten hour takoever. During 10 hours last year, users controlled a BBC record station (pop/disco station)–they told the station what to play by sending artist/track/dedication via SMS. It was a live experiment. Didn’t really know what would happen but turned out to be a big success. 150K text messages requesting 6000 tracks.

How it worked. Needed to give DJs direct access to their listeners. They wanted the interaction to be two way. They put a web page that allowed users to see text messages as they were coming in in real time. Every ten seconds, the latest text messages went up on the BBC web site. There was a internal studio web UI that the DJ’s interacted with.

Podcasting. BBC was one of the first broadcasters in the world to Podcast. Mentioned that there are a lot of small R&D teams all around the BBC. One of these teams built Podcasting features. R&D teams rapidly build and iterate on prototypes. Not long term focused like typical R&D teams.

Example project: Phonetags. Hear a song you like, bookmark it with your phone for later recall on your computer. From this data you get bubble-up metadata or spread meaning up the chain. Based on the things people tag, you can influence programming. That allows aggregation options for new navigation like Amazon style “customers who bought…”

Another idea: Group Listening. See what your friends are listening to, listening to programming alongside your friends in a shared space. Two people tune a radio together in a shared space (imagine two IM windows with some radio specific functionality). What does this do? It connects people to radio programming directly.

Larger questions. Why do we treat networked computers like passive, dumb receivers for broadcast content? And what happens when the network is in every appliance?