BBC reveals plans to expand “increasingly important” digital services offering

The broadcaster has unveiled its annual plan, which details its ambitions to focus more heavily on technologies such as virtual reality and voice control.

The BBC has published its annual plan for 2017-2018, suggesting it will focus on developing new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and voice control.

The broadcaster’s annual plan makes its creative and work plans for the forthcoming year available to the public.

As part of the plan, the broadcaster says one of its “key focuses” will be on improving the personalisation of its services, which will be powered by “sophisticated, intelligent search”.

This will include initiatives such as making it easier for people to find digital local content by introducing location-based technology.

The broadcaster is launching a VR studio later this year, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

It will be repurposing more of its existing content for use across 360 video and virtual reality, alongside piloting a local news bulletin service for voice-activated platforms. Existing voice-controlled products include Google Home and Apple’s Siri.

“Reinvent it for a new generation”

It has also committed to spending an additional £34 million over the next three years on its digital content and services for children, focusing on multimedia such as quizzes, games and apps.

The move looks to reflect the increasing time people now spend online rather than watching traditional television. The average adult internet user now spends over 20 hours online per week on average; more than double what it was a decade ago, according to Ofcom.

The initiative could also see the broadcaster compete with digitally-focused rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which are investing heavily in technologies such as voice control.

BBC director-general Tony Hall, says: “Our ambition to reinvent the BBC for a new generation is our biggest priority for next year. Every part of the BBC will need to contribute to meeting this challenge. In this plan we set out our creative vision and some of the strategic decisions we will need to take to help us achieve that goal.

Read the BBC’s annual plan in full here.

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