BBC’s Huge Archive plans

Ashley Highfield - BBC Director for New MediaThis is a follow up to BBC’s Ashley Highfield (he’s BBC Director for New Media) plan to move BBC beyond traditional media.

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The BBC has more than one million hours of video and audio plus supporting notes and scripts. The archive trial—closed to 20,000 consumers—will launch in May and is expected to last up to six months. It’s meant to gather info to use in proposing a “public service on-demand archive” that will require approval by the BBC Trust and “to see where we should draw the line between a licence fee funded service and a commercial service.”

It will gauge interest in various old programs, how people want to see them and when—“‘lean-forward’ exploratory mode similar to web surfing, or as a scheduled experience more akin to TV viewing.” Highfield: “The BBC Archive would be an extension of the BBC’s seven-day catch-up on demand proposals, the BBC iPlayer.

As with that proposed service, the Archive journey has been, and will be, a long one. It’s a massive undertaking. Ensuring the right split between license fee funding and commercial funding will be complex.”

The statement comes from a planned presentation that Mr. Highfield is giving at the MipTV in Cannes. Note that BBC has already released a news archive online.