Certain things came into their own at the London 2012 Olympics. Communication from Transport for London; Clare Balding and her expert analysis on seemingly every Olympic sport (aspiring broadcasters, take note!); and the BBC’s red button. With so much sport on offer all at once, organising and broadcasting everything coherently was going to be a mammoth task.
The coverage of the London 2012 Olympics on the BBC has shown that the possibilities for sports coverage on the red button are endless; however, in my view, the BBC has not entirely explored the potential for broadcasting tailored news via the red button. Could the red button revolutionise the way we view news and current affairs programming in the same way as it revolutionised sports coverage over the course of the Olympics? I certainly think so.
Local news could be made available via the red button. This would be a brilliant resource for those of us who live on the border between two broadcasting regions e.g. people living in, say, Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire and commuting to/spending most of their time in London may be more interested in BBC London news. Similarly, people planning a trip to somewhere else in the UK could use the red button to watch the local news for that area. Yes, we could just go online and check that out via the internet, but why leave the sofa?
Furthermore, the red button could also transform current affairs programming. Let’s take BBC2’s Newsnight as an example. Newsnight Scotland cuts in around the mid-point of the programme for viewers north of the border. Usually, this is carried out seamlessly at the end of an item; however, sometimes the cut occurs slightly earlier. This can be annoying if, like me, you would occasionally prefer to continue watching an interesting item on the UK edition of the programme without being forced into watching Newsnight Scotland halfway through.
What I find strange about this set-up is that the only way to continue watching UK Newsnight in Scotland is by switching over to BBC2 England. As far as I know, this is only available via Sky. My family in Scotland no longer use their Sky box and there appears to be no BBC2 England/London/Oxford etc. option on Freeview.
This could be easily rectified with the red button.
(I say ‘easily’ – I have no idea how this would be facilitated technically; however, given the breadth of coverage provided during the Olympics for simultaneous sports broadcasts, a red button option to allow viewers in Scotland to continue watching a UK edition of a programme would surely be comparatively simple.)
This isn’t essential, of course; however, it would be good to have the option.
What do you think? Is the red button merely the BBC’s answer to teletext for the 21st century or could the BBC do more with this service? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us @wannabehacks.
Image courtesy of BlueTsunami.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look