The BBC has scrapped its search for an external design consultancy to develop its proposed media player software, My BBC Player.
The organisation has decided to bring the work on the physical functionality of the player in-house, despite holding a paid pitch earlier this year. It may draft in consultancies at a later stage, according to a spokesman. A group of the UK’s leading digital specialists went head-to- head to win the prestigious project, thought to be worth a five-to-six-figure sum. Part of the complex brief was to create a simple ‘user journey’ for My BBC Player, looking at ways to organise its programmes and develop an appropriate information architecture.
The BBC’s decision not to appoint a consultancy at this stage, despite undertaking a costly tendering process, has raised concern among participating design groups about the issues of client best practice and intellectual copyright if the work is taken in-house, and client best practice in general.
The media player itself, which allows users to download, legally, TV programmes screened over the past seven days via the Internet, is expected to launch next year, following a proposal for the final system, which is being presented to the BBC board of governors.
The spokesman for the BBC confirms that The Partners, which is on the BBC’s design roster, is still developing the My BBC Player name and identity. It was appointed following a pitch among the broadcaster’s rostered groups (DW 13 October).
The BBC is also yet to appoint a consultancy to redesign its screen idents for BBC1, as the broadcaster moves towards a revamped on-air look. The existing idents, designed by Lambie-Nairn, were introduced in March 2002.
The organisation is still holding talks with design consultancies about future creative ‘ideas’ and it has not yet embarked on a formal pitch process, despite hopes of drawing up a shortlist before Christmas (DW 29 September).
The consultancy that was formerly BBC Broadcast – now Red Bee Media – also remains acquisitive as it embarks on an international expansion strategy overseen by chief executive Pam Masters.
It acquired Australian Caption Centre, a subtitling, language and video services company, last month for £3.2m, and is reportedly investigating the market in China, backed by its new owner Macquarie Bank (DW 17 November).
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