Every morning the first thing I do when I wake up is open my laptop and go straight to the BBC Football website. There I can get all the news of the day and the latest gossip and transfer rumours in the world of football. Now I am a massive football fan, I watch games from all over Europe and not just the big three leagues either. However my main obsession is with the English Premier League and for this in my opinion the coverage on BBC Sport is second to none. It may not have as many new articles every day and updated as regularly as Skysports.com but the quality is far superior.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in a comparison between the two websites’ video content. You would think with the massive money Sky pays to have the rights to Premier League football that their video content would be second to none but this isn’t the case.
Firstly with a much simpler, less cluttered and user friendly website, the videos on BBC Sport, all separately listed immediately grab your attention and you click on them. However with Sky Sports, all the video is in one window that shows you a freeze frame of one video for a few seconds before rolling to the next one. This means you have to wait to see screen shots of all the latest videos until you see one that interests you.
These days people don’t want to waste time sifting through everything available to get the content they want. They want to be able to overview it all and pick out their favourites.
Another bone of contention for me with Skysports.com is the bloody adverts on every single video! These are not just short 20-30 second adverts but usually a minute and twenty seconds long. That’s just plain ridiculous! I realize they must make money through advertising but must they really put an advert of over a minute on every video? I mean who even watches these adverts? If I click on a video and it has an advert before it I will usually just click away immediately. I will only stick with it if it’s a video I really want to see but then I will just mute the computer and look at another page until it’s finished. For me this is something Skysports.com really need to sort out, whether it’s feasible to move them elsewhere or cut them to less than twenty seconds I don’t know, but I do know that nobody clicks on a video to watch an advert.
What makes the BBC football video content so good is that it offers different types of video. For example the vast majority of video content on Skysports.com is mainly interviews with players and managers, and their press conferences. However on BBC they are more imaginative and offer a much wider variety of content.
Firstly what I really enjoy is Football Focus extra bits that lead up to the main programme on the weekend that often go behind the scenes at a football club and have expert opinion from their pundits. Moreover they try things out of the ordinary such as having David Cameron, Idris Elba and Kobe Bryant amongst others predicting the results of the weekend’s fixtures. (If you follow these links, you can see their predictions for yourself.)
Now don’t get me wrong, Sky Sports offers brilliant football coverage on TELEVISION. But they still have a lot to learn when it comes to online video, and they could do worse than taking a few tips from the Beeb.
UPDATE – After writing this blog and trying to embed my favourite BBC football videos on here, I found that the BBC won’t let you do that. Looks like their not so great after all! I was only able to embed the video above as it was on YouTube. It does illustrate my point quite well though; the BBC doing something different by taking us behind the scenes of one of Germany’s lesser well known clubs, Hoffenheim. However Skysports.com do let you embed their videos, it’s just a shame nobody would want to!
So, there you are in the office writing up your script for the BBC’s News at Ten and at 9.40pm the juiciest news story breaks out all around you! How do you capitalise on this massively visual piece NOW whilst it’s still hot? What do you do? What can you do? The answer is Nothing. You are forced to sit, wait for 10pm and watch as the pie quickly cools…
“What about the BBC News Channel and Sky News? They provide 24 hour rolling news!” Correct, you are right there. But only for people who can afford satellite television, which currently only stands at one THIRD of UK homes. The other 66%, the majority, are left to wait.
Your smug fellow colleagues at BBC who work in the department of BBC News Online, on the other hand, can dig in straight away. They can even burn their tongues by capitalising on news so fast.
It’s not just them stuffing their chops – Sky News Online, CNN, and Twitter constantly dine at the online video buffet for breaking news stories. And when they do, they can be assured it’s always fresh.
When the story of the 7/7 bombings in London broke in July 2005, the BBC went straight online to youTube and Flickr for videos and photos of what had happened. The user generated comments they found there also gave them ideas about the potential casualties they needed to report.
Jo Twist, BBC’s Technology Reporter says:
“Unlike TV cameras, mobile phones only need a functioning network to send back moving images. This can be done at the touch of a couple of buttons.
TV crews often need feed links and complex set-ups to file back their high-quality images.
The grainy quality of the moving mobile images will improve over time, but news organisations say viewers forgive the quality as they understand the circumstances in which such footage is often shot.”
The above video was taken by David Couzins, an un-injured train passenger underground the day of the 7/7 bombings. He says:
“Although not particularly interesting, I did manage to email this video directly to some of the world’s major newsrooms as soon as I got to the surface (something that was reasonably advanced in 2005) and as a result both the BBC and Sky News played this video numerous times throughout the day as the story unfolded. I will never forget that day.”
Amateur videos are becoming extremely popular as time goes on, as the average person becomes more and more adept to shooting their own footage comfortably and sharing it immediately. Their proxomity to the scene of the story cannot be beaten by news organisations, bacause it is from those involved that the organizations are alerted in the first place. Take the disaster in Haiti for instance:
In reporting the earthquake disaster in Haiti in Jan 2010, the BBC posted amateur footage from youtube without properly discovering its source or checking its reliability. But even if you do check the sources, and they all add up, time will not wait for you.
And even if you do provide up-to-the-minute news during broadcast, nothing can be done once transmission has ceased: if a burning story breaks at 10.36pm, there’s no opportunity to broadcast it for another 6 hours on BBC One until 4.35am the following day.
With online news, you can be sure to get that breaking story out and spread it to the world fast. You don’t have to send a reporter to the place of the incident. You don’t have to voxpop for mixed reviews/opinions. You don’t have to reconstruct any action that takes place. You just have to venture online.
Because Online Video will always be first at the scene.
by NICK KWEK