Smartspeaker listening is massively up, but sure, delaying podcasts will help drive adoption

The BBC really need to add more Siri intents to Sounds to enable smart speaker listening.

Rajar data continues to show that Smart speaker listening is on the up.

As someone thoroughly locked into the Apple ecosystem, until recently I’ve not been able to easily ask to BBC Radio services through my HomePods. I had to follow some Reddit posts to install shortcuts “hey Siri play Bbc 6 music” and suddenly I find myself listening to more BBC Radio as a consequence.

Previously I think you had to listen to stations ‘enough’ for Siri to recognise the activity, then it could be a suggested shortcut. It was a bit ugly, and down to how intents originally worked.

The Siri APIs have got more developed over time, and now it is possible to do this in a way that doesn’t require upfront declaration.

It’s funny then, that given the choice of “adding a play with Siri intent to BBC Sounds” or “delaying podcast release to open platforms”, that Auntie chose the latter…

This has the strange result:

  • The BBC’s first party actions have me listening to less BBC Podcast Audio – why listen to a topical podcast 4 weeks later, and having to remember to check BBC Sounds doesn’t match my workflow
  • Actions by a Third-Party, have me listening to more BBC Live audio

I know there are always backlogs, but Siri intents have been around for a while now…

Goodbye TVC

On the day TVC closes for general operation, a little on the past and future of this unique building.


Disclosure: I’ve worked on-and-off for various bits of BBC for many years.

The closure of TVC is one of those left-brain/right-brain things: The logical “right-brain” spreadsheet lover in me looks at the old building, the amount of asbestos, the legacy cables and the fact that News, Sport & Childrens have all moved out and thinks that it’s the right thing to do.

Meanwhile the left-brain in me is screaming loudly “BUT IT’S TELEVISION CENTRE”, it’s a place of dreams, of wonder, where I was in a small room in the basement while they filmed Jools Holland above. A place I got lost deliberately at lunchtime just so that I wouldn’t get lost that one time I was running for a meeting.

The truth probably lies somewhere in-between; News being in West1, unified with world-service is a great thing for the output. BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios will be moving back in a few years. Studios 1-3 will survive.

So on this, the last day the building is still in general operation, I will think fondly of the past, and hope that post re-fit the building emerges leaner and all set for 21st century.

My friend wrote about his recreation of a famous moment: On Tap-Dancing at TVC.

The New ITV News

ITV News relaunch shows that less can be more. relaunched this week. It’s now all of ITV, and not just the ITN national bulletins. It’s very nice. Lots of people have been talking about it. I’m late to that party.

BBC/Guardian, et al feel like a curated library. ITV now feels like a twitter-stream, or as Paul said like tumblr.

It feels very “now”, you’re seeing the news of the moment. It’s not going to replace BBC News as my homepage, but it’s good to see ITV competing meaningfully, innovating not aping.

On the Beta BBC Homepage

BBC unveiled beta version of its homepage, and the purpose and execution are really clear.

Standard “I used to work for the BBC” disclaimer applies.

Over at you can see the new BBC homepage. The BBC have written a few articles about it.

My first impression is that this the first homepage that has done what the home-page needed to do, be a shop-front for across the BBC. Previous home-pages have always been very silo-structured. News had their bit, ditto Radio, Sport, Weather, etc.

It felt like representation of the org-chart rather than conveying the breadth of the site.

The new one feels both busier, and simpler. Without the excessive and technically unreliable customisation it’s lost that horrible of air of “is it a homepage or a BBC specific My-Yahoo?”.

I love the design, it’s a clean grid structure and I really hope that as the Ten Products are launched, they can all share this sharp-styling which is a great evolution of the GEL design guidelines.

The BBC has perhaps been through a few too many home-pages in previous years, but this one feels like it’s been given a really tight scope and done that – most people will still be browsing to or finding content via Google.

A gripe though, given they’re linking so much to iPlayer things, they really need to make the correct redirect to the TV/iPad “big screen” iPlayer version of a programme and not a link to the front-page. (Oh, and sort out an HTML5 player for News content)