BBC’s Creative Archives To Launch in Autumn 2004; Plans To Put Olympics Overage Online

BBC’s Creative Archives, the controversial plan by the Beeb to launch its archives online, for free, will launch sometime in Autumn this year, according to Ashley Highfield, the head of BBC New Media, speaking today at the FT New Media and Broadcasting Conference in London (Wanted to take some pics of the Creative Archives demo player, but batteries for my digital camera ran out at the last minute..dang..)…

The first phase will launch with 2,000 clips, each about 3 minutes. These will be freely available for download on BBC’s website, but ONLY to UK visitors…

These clips will have no DRM attached, and will not expire..the media player/download system being build will have the ability to forward this to friends, so it remains to be seen how much UK-restriction will last..

All of the clips in the first stage will be factual programs, the rights for which BBC already owns. If the first phase is successful, the second phase will try to get right for other (and presumably longer) programs being broadcast on BBC but for which it does not hold the right currently…

In other major announcement at the conference, Highfield said that it would also put coverage of the famous Glastonbury annual concert online as well, as part of its Interactive Media Player (not connected directly to Creative Archives, which is downloads) program. IMP will be a media player streaming all of BBC’s one-week prior content online, for free. IMP, would move from “technical trial” to pilot in November. The player, unveiled last November, should allow viewers to record “TiVo-style” programmes on their computers and set-top boxes.

BBC also plans to include the Athens’ Olympics coverage in August, which would be interesting to watch, since Olympics controls its broadcasting and online rights so closely…

Update: BBC has just put up the whole text of the speech.

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