Search Me? Finding content in a search driven world

In a world of content – how can we expect people to find our great work?

I was intrigued by a session at Radiodays Europe last month presented by Jakob Bjur – the researcher in residence at Swedish radio. His presentation was based on a research paper he’d written on “Transforming Audiences – Patterns of individualization in Television Viewing”. It’s a weighty document and you can read it all here.

He made many interesting points, including the fact that “the content we deliver now falls into the web and is resocialised”. But he asked the question as to whether radio/sound now needs to be visualised in order to be found?

Think about it; you can search online for text and images and video, but sound is harder to search – unless it has loads of relevant metadata. Or maybe a full transcript?

As we consider the digital future, (or as someone put it today, the post Digital future), what content exactly do we want our listeners/audience to search out? And are we being far too prescriptive in how we categorise our content and how they consume it?

I’m not for a moment suggesting that our traditional, linear forms of broadcasting have had their place. Far from it. But in a world where our younger audiences are consuming 9 hours worth of content in less than 7 hours – ie using at least a couple of media simultaneously – should we be helping them find that content in a way that’s more suitable for their lifestyles?

Could we see a future where people could have an app on their smart phone that simply has a BBC search box – much like the Google search. It could learn who you are, what you like and give you it.

Maybe it’s a future where you select the type of content you want and it’s delivered to your phone – ready to consume on the way to work. But now, it’s not simply radio, but the funniest bits of last night’s Mock the Week, the must-see film from last week’s Top Gear, a video of the Taylor Swift Live Lounge performance, and the latest film review from Mayo and Kermode.

In short, I don’t care whether they are consuming Radio, or TV, or online content. I just want to make sure that, as future licence fee payers, and therefore our future audience, that they consume BBC content.

Or at least know that it’s there.

[Disclosure: Whilst I work for the BBC – these are my own views].

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2 thoughts on “Search Me? Finding content in a search driven world

  1. James says:

    Allowing listeners and viewers to pick away at bits of content… that does sound like it takes away something from a neatly crafted product.

    While full transcripts allow for the best search capability, will the user who’s picking away for some information listen to the whole broadcast piece? Unlikely, and in doing so could perhaps miss the overall theme or feel for the piece. (That’s not even taking into account that the spoken word, perhaps with the addition of pictures, brings a whole new element to what’s being delivered!)

    Possibly playing devil’s advocate slightly there, given that I can see both sides of the story as a consumer of media!

    Having said that, having the full transcript of programmes hidden within the search algorithm would be very powerful indeed.

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