As more people are looking to video on demand to find new content to watch, cementing the position of default platform of choice is now an essential part of any VOD product.
End to end partner
Between 2013 and 2015, Ostmodern collaborated closely with BBC Worldwide to create the vision and strategy for BBC Store.
Once approved by the board and the BBC Trust we designed the end to end solution before co-locating developers and engineers within the BBC to build the responsive web and native app interfaces of the product.
The iPlayer relationship
Over the last 8 years, iPlayer has become a UK by-word for catch-up video on demand services. Therefore it was crucial to develop a strategic relationship which clearly communicated the proposition of Store without weakening the image of the UK’s most-used VoD service.
Ostmodern worked alongside the BBC to model various relationships, exploring the pros and cons of each. Once a strategic decision was reached, we prototyped and tested a range of solutions, to understand which resonated most with potential BBC Store audiences.
Ostmodern really impressed us with their energy and creativity on BBC Store. Since then, we've retained them as close partners on a number of high profile BBC Worldwide projects. There simply isn't another company in the VOD design and build space with the same breadth of experience, creativity and pragmatism.
Gulliver Smithers, VP Product Management, BBC Worldwide
Positioning against the license fee
As the BBC is publicly funded through a licence fee model, many consumers initially felt that purchasing on-demand content was like paying again for content they’ve already bought. The product had to convince users of the value of owning digital content. To do that, the service needed to clearly define and communicate what it means to own content digitally - doing for digital ownership what iPlayer did for catchup.
Ostmodern worked with BBC digital sales teams and content editors to explore ways of introducing, packaging and merchandising the content, to show the value, size and makeup of the catalogue, spanning 70 years of broadcasting history. From there, we prototyped a variety of playback experiences, aimed at engendering a sense of content ownership, rather than simply streaming some content online. All solutions were thoroughly user tested to see which resonated with users.
We worked closely with a 3rd party branding agency to develop a new design direction. In doing so, we established that this direction must:
- Maintain a clear relationship with iPlayer and other BBC properties, reusing existing UI patterns where appropriate
- Capitalise on the technical and accessibility benefits of the BBC’s Global Experience Language (GEL)
- Provide design parity across responsive web and native apps, whilst optimising patterns for each platform where appropriate
The final design language blends the utilitarian strengths of iPlayer with the retail objectives of an online store.
The final UI was based around a scalable templating system, catering for any content types from 50+ year old archive programming through to current blockbuster titles. ‘Superbrands’ - key talent, programmes or events that represent pillarstones of the BBC catalogue - needed to be elevated throughout the product, and bespoke UI elements were created to enable this.
BBC Store had a large team operating from BBC Media Village in London, responsible for every aspect of the product, including product owners, scrum masters, development teams, rights managers and content editors. To maximise efficiency, various Ostmodern teams co-located throughout the entire project.
Ostmodern’s strategic consultants and designers worked hand in hand with BBC content editors, product owners and technical teams for 12 months as the concept was developed, user tested and refined, and the final product was planned and specced. We then embedded front end, iOS and Android developers within BBC teams throughout production: helping design and implement their API; working with in-house BBC front and back end development teams on the responsive web build; and building the native iOS and Android apps.
Building on success
With the launch of BBC Store, the BBC have a world class T-VoD product which opens up 70 years of broadcasting history to the general public. Ostmodern played a key role across the entire project, from conception through to delivery and beyond. Since launch, Ostmodern have helped the BBC roll out subscription variants of the core product across the world, as part of the BBC Player project.