BBC Web Video

March 11, 2010

As could be expected, it appears that the BBC takes a mostly traditional approach to its use of Web video. It is the British Broadcasting Corporation, after all.

The organization’s main Web site does have its own Video and Audio page, which unites all the latest Web-only videos and TV clips in one location. The page is divided into sections for top news, science & technology, health, business, and entertainment videos.

A video in the UK News section on a possible British Airways union strike closely follows the traditional TV format, with voiceover narration, a reporter on location speaking directly to the viewers, and interview subjects shot at an angle and not looking into the camera. It may be taken directly from one of the BBC’s cable news channels. I got that sense about a lot of the videos – most seemed to be produced for television, and then just posted online.

Videos found under the “Editor’s Choice” section on the right offered a bit more variety. A rather spectacular video of Mexican revelers literally dancing in fireworks forgoes all narration or explanation – the minute-long, minimally edited clip is there to capture a moment that couldn’t be conveyed nearly as well in text. It doesn’t at all look like a professional video, although it carries the BBC logo in the upper left corner, and I have to wonder if it was provided by a local or tourist at the festival. If so, however, there’s no credit provided for the video.

A similar video in production values under the “Most Popular Video/Audio” section shows the wild patterns formed by a massive flock of starlings in Gloucestershire, again without any narration or even any change in perspective. In comparison, another Editor’s Choice video on noted war photographer Don McCullin is elegantly (and traditionally) produced.

Surely the previous two are user-generated content? If they are, why is there no acknowledgement? Photos sent in by viewers are clearly labeled. The BBC’s Have Your Say page solicits contributions and clearly directs readers on how to upload their newsworthy videos. It seems rather odd that there’s apparently no system in place to recognize those shared videos if they are posted.



  1. I agree with you, Karen. If people can send in videos to the BBC’s Web site, they should be getting credit for their submissions, and some of the BBC’s Web videos are amateur-looking enough that they probably were submitted by users. I didn’t raise this question in my own blog, but it’s a very good question to raise – if users can submit content, why isn’t the BBC using and/or attributing it? It seems to me that they are missing out of a very valuable opportunity.

  2. Yikes! I hope that the BBC isn’t accepting user submitted videos and then giving no credit. That’s very unfortunate if they are, even if they legally aren’t required to give credit. I’m not sure how that works, but I could see a user submitted video technically becoming BBC property upon submission. The act of not giving credit to users will eventually catch up to them, cause a lot of bad feelings and will probably discourage people from submitting their own videos.

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