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Aunty squirts serendipity into TV apps

Fondleslabs are now the "second TV"

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The BBC is piping stuff into ever more devices - showing off delivery to a Samsung Connected TV today.

Actually, the first thing that appeared on the giant Samsung - literally a wall-to-wall experience - was a Socialist Worker placard emblazoned with "Smash The Tories" from a "Save Our Pensions" demonstration. It's the big story of the day.

The BBC new media buzzwords are serendipity (of which this could be an example) and storytelling - the latter much favoured by the BBC's new media chief, an affable New Yorker from the Bronx, called Ralph Rivera. As well as showing off the proprietary TV demo, Rivera gave an update on all things New Media.

Rivera reiterated the strategy set in place by his predecessor Erik Huggers, of doing more with less. Back in January the BBC announced the closure of hundreds of dead sites - and the disposal of HG2G, although the new "product portfolio" looks exactly like the old one.

No sites have closed yet, and no redundancies have been made, though - it's all still in "consultation."

Rivera said the strategy is "one service, ten products and four screens", and noted that the PC is now the slowest growing iPlayer platform of the four - PCs, TV, mobile and fondleslabs. Mobile grew at 67 per cent, on TVs by 17 per cent, and PCs by 15 per cent.

"The tablet is essentially becoming the second TV in the home," he said.

The Samsung app the BBC demonstrated was built in HTML so the corporation can roll out the same content to lots of these proprietary TVs without great expense. Or that's the idea.

I got into a discussion about how much Web2.0rhea should be incorporated into these new media feeds. Rivera thought that a combination of "editorial curation, algorithmic curation and social curation" was where everything would converge. But I suggested that there's an opportunity cost by giving over screen time to "People who liked this also liked…" boxes and the Tweetings of a bloke in a shed. Love it or hate it, what makes the BBC distinctive is its voice. Dilute the voice, and you may as well skip the BBC entirely.

"I want to see things that I wouldn't other wise see, and I don't want to lose that serendipity," he said. "But we shouldn't ignore what's happening in new media."

Well, maybe. But there's a lot of space on today's gigantic TVs. Give me something amazing from the archive, than another Facebook or Twitter Top 10. ®

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