The BBC’s video on demand service, iPlayer is introducing social networking features which should further boost the uptale of Twitter and Facebook in the UK – as if they needed any boosting. The new iPlayer Beta is set to go live officially at the end of June.
Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger will be linked to a user’s “BBC ID” which they get when they register on BBC.co.uk. Users will be able to share what they’re watching over social networks (queue lots of “Watching Britains Got Talent” updates) while Windows Messenger will show in real-time how many minutes a user is in to a program on iPlayer and allow them to sync viewing with friends and chat about the show in realtime. The features will also work for BBC radio stations.
Quite why the BBC went for Messenger is so far unexplained. It does have a lage UK uptake. But it’s worth noting that tech supremo Eric Huggers is an ex-Microsoft executive.
iPlayer will also now have customisable modules which can be moved around by the user, similar to Google’s iGoogle page. A new recommendation system will suggesting programs based on viewing habits, Tivo-like and will even suggest content from rival channels like ITV Player, 4OD, Clic, SeeSaw and Demand Five. No Sky as yet, who are considering their options.
UPDATE: It appears that iPlayer sucks in your whole social graph on Twitter without giving you much options.