BBC. Helping TV presenters interact with social media on live broadcasts.

THINKLab - BBC Social Media

Several years ago, the BBC set up a number of social media feeds on Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. The aim was to allow viewers to take part in broadcasts by using these feeds to submit relevant stories, comments and images during shows. 

However presenters struggled to use this type of content because there was not a presentation tool available at the time that allowed them to interact with viewer generated content while also enabling directors and producers to have ultimate editorial control.

The BBC approached us to help.

Our Solution

We worked with the BBC to create an interactive table top which would give presenters the ability to directly manipulate this real-time information in a live broadcast studio setting whilst, at the same time, allowing the editors and directors ultimate editorial control of content off camera.

We developed a series of prototype touch screen applications culminating in a bespoke Microsoft Surface™ multi touch application. This allowed the presenters to select from a list of social media posts that had been pre-approved on a control terminal by show editors. The presenters could manipulate the chosen media using multi touch gestures such as stretch, rotate and move and the touch surface screen output was mirrored on the studios large display screens that viewers could see.

THINKlab conducted trials in the BBC's North West Tonight studio in Manchester where presenter Gordon Burns and Assistant Editor Phil Smith were keen to test the new concept to see how they could work with it in a live show.

The BBC plans to use the touch surface in future live news shows.