18 Oct 2017
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BBC news app adds new video feature

MUMBAI: The BBC has added a new vertical of video experience to its global news app.

Users can swipe through a curated list of ‘videos of the day’, to get an up-to-date summary of the day’s news in an engaging format. The upgrade is part of the Project Newstream, announced last September, an initiative to adapt BBC video journalism to the mobile era. The same content is also published on the web and on social media.

The new vertical was designed in-house in partnership with the New York agency Code and Theory. The release will be followed by further enhancements, including improvements to image quality and social sharing functionality. Additionally, a second vertical video index, BBC Stories, will come out in early December. BBC Stories will focus on current affairs with more personal and immersive human-interest videos.

James MontgomeryBBC News digital development director James Montgomery said, “Video remains the medium in which much of our best journalism is told, but the storytelling needs to be re-thought for mobile. The key to success is the combination of relevance and reward: videos that are not only great to watch, but which are offered in formats that are optimised for smartphones. We know that mobile users check their phones frequently but don’t have time to stay for long. In many cases, this is on their morning commute, and again at home in the evening when they want to catch up on the day. The new index helps them find the best videos quickly, and presents it to them in a digestible and finite package.”

More than 60% of BBC News’ digital traffic comes via mobile devices, and a new video team has been assembled in the BBC’s main newsroom in London, operating 24/7, to meet the changing consumption patterns.

All the videos are created keeping smartphone users in mind: the videos are succinct and sharply edited, designed to be viewed vertically in full screen, and have subtitles. In addition, the app will debut new vertical interstitial ad formats.

Montgomery further added, “Being good at delivering news to mobiles is particularly important for younger audiences, for whom the smartphone is the primary, or possibly only, source of news.”

The international BBC News app now has a record 7.2 million unique users each month, with almost a quarter watching video each week, and video views have almost doubled in the past year. This month has seen record user figures as international audiences turned to the BBC News app for an impartial, global perspective on the US election. The day of the results, 9 November, alone generated 36 million page views from 3 million unique browsers.