According to Ofcom, something close to ten million UK households use the Freeview digital terrestrial tv platform as their primary means of receiving multichannel television.
On second sets, like those in bedrooms where you might listen to the radio, Ofcom says Freeview enjoys a massive 47% tv platform share, and is growing fast.
It’s a big platform and one which can serve radio listeners rather well. So it’s been a source of irritation to me that the radio station for which I look after promotions and navigation, the BBC World Service, has until now been unable to provide a decent on-screen data and navigation service. You know, like you’d expect on such a platform.
The reason for this has been bandwidth, or rather the lack of it. The BBC World Service was for several years perched on the limits of a third-party multiplex rather like a heavy book that is only just balanced on the edge of a shelf.
Thankfully a recent reshuffle of multiplexes sorted that out and the BBC World Service became properly nestled among the rest of the BBC family of services.
Now, finally, listeners to the BBC World Service using Freeview can enjoy a decent navigational interface with live text services that add context and background to the audio and help them find their way around the rich schedule. We’ve put a live feed of world news in there too in case you want a quick update on the global headlines.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, as you may know I spend most of my working life thinking about markets far away from home so you’ll understand it’s rather nice to be able to deliver a tangible improvement here in the UK for once.
Big thanks to my World Service Promotions team, the clever folk in BBC Audio & Music interactive and at my former employer Red Bee Media who brought it all together.
Update: I have now written an official BBC corporate blog piece which has been subjected to formal compliance procedures and due editorial scrutiny. I hope you can see the improvement.