The BBC has launched a new beta version of iPlayer with an aim to making the service ‘simpler, more personal and connected’. The new version will link with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to share and recommend iPlayer content to friends.
Other key features include a revamped user interface with three discovery areas to ease navigation, separate TV and radio listings, a favourites playlist and a function to channel-hop while watching programmes live.
BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, Erik Huggers, said: “The launch of this version of the BBC iPlayer is part of our strategy to do fewer things even better and make it more simple, personal and connected. We must no longer try to do everything online, but focus on delivering genuinely world-class products like BBC iPlayer – which audiences love and which really embodies the BBC’s core mission in a digital age.
The BBC has formed a partnership with Microsoft to enable Windows Live Messenger users to log in to their messaging service through BBC iPlayer and invite other contacts to watch programmes at the same time. This feature will be available in beta later in the Summer and may be extended to other instant messaging services if it proves successful, according to the BBC.
Later in the summer, users will also be able to find links to programmes from ITV Player, 4oD, Clic, Demand Five and SeeSaw – as a result of partnership deals with ITV, Channel 4, S4C and Five, and Arqiva.
Erik Huggers added: “As we focus on what public service means in a digital age, we are working to set clear boundaries for BBC Online. We don’t want to build a social network, microblogging or instant messaging service.
“But through a greater emphasis on strategic partnerships, we can harness the benefits of the web to enrich the audience’s interaction with our content and support other content providers. The new BBC iPlayer reflects public service broadcasting in the digital era.”
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