It has been 10 years since the BBC launched its first pilot of the Red Button in the UK. From this, the service has evolved and become hugely popular, with an average of 11 million people using it a week.
It has allowed the BBC to provide audiences with access to the latest news, weather and other general information, while also enabling the delivery of an enhanced experience across major sporting and entertainment events.
To mark the first decade, an array of content is to be launched across the service. The commitment to sport continues with the recently launched multi-screen offering viewer’s coverage of live snooker, highlights from the Rugby League World Cup in Australia and live statistics complementing BBC Radio 5 Live commentary as England’s cricketers tour India.
EastEnders fans will be invited to test their knowledge of some of the show’s greatest whodunits, while Mr Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures will be asking younger viewers if they possess super-human intelligence.
Bob The Builder is in fine voice and will be looking for like-minded pre-schoolers to join him in a spot of karaoke, while CBeebies favourites such as Roly Mo, Tikkabilla and Postman Pat will have a fresh game or story available every week.
Rahul Chakkara, Controller of TV Platforms for BBC Future Media and Digital, said: “From the initial development work conducted by the BBC Research and Innovation team, we launched the Red Button service to provide audiences with a more enhanced television experience.With the breakthrough innovation of our 2001 Wimbledon coverage, this redefined what was possible on the television screen.Since then, we have continued to experiment and bring fresh new ideas to our audience. The recent coverage of the Beijing Olympics and the interactive services we’re offering with some of our most popular entertainment shows, like EastEnders, is testament to this.”
In line with the anniversary of the service, the BBC asked a number of users what has been the best thing they have seen on the service recently.
One female viewer said: “Oasis at the Electric Proms – I didn’t realise you could watch things like this through the Red Button!”
And a male viewer said: “The BBC’s coverage of sporting events like the Olympics or Wimbledon. It gives me the freedom to watch what I want to watch.”
It’s seems that the broadcast industry agrees with the great British public. Over the past 10 years, BBC’s Red Button service has won more than 15 awards including four BAFTAas and an International Emmy for Best Interactive Service in 2007.