A few months ago I was commissioned by the BBC’s Knowledge Exchange Programme (KEP) – a collaboration between BBC R&D and the Arts & Humanities Research Council – to write an essay looking at the personalisation of media in response to the eight year-long academic studies that had been produced for the programme.
The research studies covered the the breadth of the BBC’s digital output from it’s newsrooms and communities around radio programmes through to online-only content such as Adventure Rock – a 3D online world for children. The titles of the research papers are as follows:
* UGC at the BBC
* Alone Together? Social Learning in BBC Blast
* A Public Voice – Access, Digital Story and Interactive Narrative
* Children in Virtual Worlds
* Virtual Worlds – An Overview and Study of BBC Children’s Adventure Rock
* Inhibited Exploration in Older Customers of Digital Services
* Listener Online Engagement with BBC Radio Programming
* Radio listeners online – A case study of The Archers
* The Miners’ Strike – A Case Study in Regional Content
NOTE: Background to the papers and a list of links to the papers can be read and downloaded here.
What struck me reading the papers and using the BBC’s digital services was that a lot of time was being spent in moderating services and encouraging viewers to have their say without necessarily taking things further. That whilst the BBC had successfully used many digital tools to engage audiences there were structures that could be put in place to enhance those relationships and also enable the organisation to focus it’s time and attention more efficiently.
Expectations and digital literacy of users have also dramatically increased as online experiences have become more sophisiticated. Interactivity is not just about personalising any more, it’s about participation, remixing, collaborating. ie. How can the BBC engage the new active audience in relationships that work for everyone?
In the essay I examine a number of strategies (including some based on the experiences we had with the Digital Britain Unconferences) and structures that are relevant not just to the BBC but to many other organisations who wish to engage with online audiences more deeply – large or small, small or large budgets.
The final essay can be read in PDF format here (page 17) together with seven other essays by the likes of Bill Thompson and Pat Kane. Paper copies (slightly easier to read) may be available if you ask the Knowledge Exchange Team nicely.