BBC has launched a new vertical video experience in its award-winning and internationally renowned News app.
Users can swipe through a curated list of ‘videos of the day’, to get an up-to-date summary of the day’s news in an easy-to-consume and engaging format.
All the videos are created specifically with smartphone users in mind: the videos are succinct and sharply edited, designed to be viewed vertically in full screen, and have subtitles. In addition the app will debut new vertical interstitial ad formats.
More than 60 per cent of BBC News’ digital traffic now comes via mobile devices and a new video team has been assembled in the BBC’s main newsroom in London, operating 24/7, to meet the changing consumption patterns.
The upgrade is one of the fruits of Project Newstream, announced last September, an initiative to adapt BBC video journalism to the mobile era. The same content is also published to the web, and to social, with a consistent ‘look and feel’ in design.
James Montgomery, Digital Development Director for BBC News said: “Video remains the medium in which much of our best journalism is told, but the storytelling needs to be re-thought for mobile.The key to success is the combination of relevance and reward: videos that are not only great to watch, but which are offered in formats that are optimised for smartphones.
“We know that mobile users check their phones frequently but don’t have time to stay for long. In many cases, this is on their morning commute and again at home in the evening when they want to catch up on the day. The new index helps them find the best videos quickly, and presents it to them in a digestible and finite package.”
He added, “Being good at delivering news to mobiles is particularly important for younger audiences, for whom the smartphone is the primary, or possibly only, source of news.”
The new vertical experience was designed in-house in partnership with the New York agency Code & Theory.
Today’s release will be followed by further enhancements, including improvements to image quality and social sharing functionality.
Additionally, a second vertical video index - BBC Stories - will come out in early December. BBC Stories will focus on current affairs with more personal and immersive human interest videos.
The international BBC News app now has a record 7.2 million unique users each month, with almost a quarter watching video each week, and video views have almost doubled in the past year. This month has seen record user figures as international audiences turned to the BBC News app for an impartial, global perspective on the US election. The day of the results alone (9th November) generated 36 million page views from 3 million unique browsers.
In 2013 the BBC announced a long-term goal to increase cross-platform weekly reach to 500 million people by 2022. It is recognised that News will account for the vast majority of this audience, and that digital is the fastest-growing, though not necessarily single largest, platform.
By 2020, it’s thought that another billion people will be online and, as handsets, network speeds and data charges improve across the world, the majority of these are likely be connected via mobile phone, particularly in Africa and Asia.