A Lesson From BBC.com Chinese Media Sites Should Learn

2 min read

Ashley Highfield, the BBC director of new media and technology, said all future BBC digital output and services will focus on three concepts – “share”, “find” and “play”.

New BBC.com was officially launched at 27 February, 2008. Guardian commented:

“…(BBC) plans to rebuild its website around user-generated content, including blogs and home videos, with the aim of creating a public service version of MySpace.com…”

Chinese Internet has been trying hard to catch up with the western industry, Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter etc have been studied and discussed since the first day when they went to public. It seems that people now have understood web2.0, and tens of video-sharing, image-sharing, micro-blogging and SNS can prove that. BBC.com was unblocked in March after years of strict access. It is a great news for those who complains about the censorship in China, but disappointedly there are very few of us has realized that there is much more we can talk about about the BBC.com.

More and more Chinese media sites now provides blog service, even offer video-sharing feature to attract more users and proclaim they are now into web2.0, which is really a good thing to hear. However, if we could spend some time on BBC.com, you must be amazed by what they are doing. Chinese Internet should learn from BBC.com:

1. Personalization

The new BBC home page is just brilliant. Beautifully designed, very neat, fully customizable, BBC lets the readers decide what news they are willing to read instead pushes everything on one page.

BBC Homepage

2. Digitalization

BBC iPlayer went live at the Christmas day of 2007. BBC shows screened on British BBC TV channels in the last seven days can be re-played on iPlayer; The programs can also be dowloaded and the P2P technology is used to enable the distribution of large video files; iPlayer is also incorporated into Virgin Media’s set-top box so that viewers can use the iPlayer to watch full screen pictures at full quality on their television set without the need for downloading; even more, iPlayer is available on iPhone and on Wii console.

3. Mobilization

More and more readers are now using mobile devices to surf the Internet, BBC.com surely is aware of it. Its BBC mobile version is one of the best mobile news portals in our opinion. The news, sport, entertainment, audio and video are available on the phone and PDA.

4. Content Distribution and Widgetization

Any news channel on BBC.com has its RSS feed, and some programs and highlights are even available in Podcast. Most of Chinese online media still does not care about the RSS, BBC.com has been working on its widgets for next level of content/service distribution, you can check out its clock widget and BBC radio widget on mac.

In face, BBC is not the only mainstream media truly embrace the web2.0 concept and technology. USAToday has its own widgets collection; French media LeFigaro has integrated Netvibes’ platform as its personalized start page, etc. Online media plays a very important role in the Internet industry. We love the so called Media 2.0, i.e. social media, but we can not forget the importance of mainstream media which the majority readers are still listening to. If we want the entire industry to be more mature, the mainstream medias such as CCTV.com must take the lead, train the market by letting their users experience the beauty of web2.0.