The BBC has made headlines in the UK for refusing to give air time to a Gaza fund raiser. The dispute has generated headlines for days now. Ironically I suspect more people now know about the fund raising than would have done of the BBC had aired it in the first place…
I was just reading the Live Text coverage of the Olympics on BBC.co.uk (which incidentally is a great read of you like British humor). Someone made the point that if Phelps were a country he would be fourth in the overall medal table. That puts one person ahead of almost all the developed nations in the world. Some of the world’s smaller nations will no doubt start scouting their local swimming pools looking for their own Phelps.
The BBC has introduced a clever system to help boost its Olympics ratings. It seems (potential) viewers can sign up to get a couple of text messages a day reminding them that a certain event is about to be shown on TV (such as Phelps going for another gold medal). You could see this idea being applied to a whole range of things. For example radio stations could text you to tune in when a certain song is about to be played. Equally, your favorite sports team could send you a text message when they score and provide information on where you can watch or listen to the game. Businesses could text you when a certain item goes on sale. The list is really quite endless and I wonder if there isn’t a business here for someone to create a site called ‘Reach Me’. On the site you would sign up for things that you would like to get messages about. I’d suggest that this site go beyond text messages and use a range of other ways to get hold of you. As I say the list could be anything from sports news to product availability. There are some technologies that touch on this space from people like Varolii but they seem to focus more on the company selling than the person who is receiving or buying.
The BBC recently overhauled its website. The sites looks a great deal better and has maintained its interactive nature with visitors able to send in comments on many of the stories. However, I can’t help feeling it is an opportunity missed to do something really bold and unusual. For example I’d love it if they’d taken a leaf out of YouTube‘s book and made it so that when you clicked on a news item, it then automatically made additional suggestions. I’d also appreciate it becoming a truly customizable site. Right now you can customise the home page to some degree, but compared to sites like my.yahoo.com it is… weak. I’d also like to see them accept ratings from users on their content AND to admit to how many people are reading each story in same way as YouTube tracks the number of people that have viewed a clip. In other words I’m saying that I feel the BBC could have used the best features of a number of sites to upgrade its site. I would also LOVED to have seem them embrace blog or even rival content more. For example, they could have created links to host of additional sites for news and perspective. Of course that would have created a lot of work for them BUT it may have resulted in the BBC becoming a wonderful homepage. And let’s face it, even in a world where we all use the Internet in a far more sophisticate way than we did even a year ago, we all still love our homepage.