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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 17:24 GMT
Broadband - like TV only better


By Peter Barron
Newsnight editor

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  • NEWSNIGHT REVIEW
  • CLICK HERE TO COMMENT ON THE EDITOR'S COLUMN

    First, an apology. A growing number of Newsnight viewers are choosing to watch the programme over the internet.

    They can't make it home for 10.30pm so they log in later and pick it up on broadband. But they get very cross indeed if they find the programme isn't there.

    One day soon you'll be able to stick them all on your iPod and watch on your way to work
    While Newsnight appears faithfully on TV every weeknight the problem with the website version is that we don't always have internet rights to the footage we use.

    Sports footage and archive like Movietone, for example, would cost us a fortune so sometimes we have to cut the feed, and currently our system isn't sophisticated enough just to black out the offending pictures - it's all or nothing.

    And once or twice we've said on air that the programme is available on-line when in fact it's not. Our TV and web teams not handshaking properly, I'm afraid.

    It's still early days in the TV revolution, and so far only a few thousand watch us this way every night as opposed to around a million who watch from the sofa, but I'm sorry for the hiccups - we're determined to get this right.

    BBC2 enters new age

    Not least because BBC2 is about to become a fully broadband channel, broadcasting simultaneously over the internet and offering a whole range of programmes and clips on PCs, iPods and mobile phones.

    BBC TWO controller Roly Keating
    The channel's controller, Roly Keating, reckons "BBC2 can flourish in ways unimaginable in the first 40 years of its existence".

    And we're already seeing the possibilities on Newsnight. In the past you used to make what you considered a groundbreaking film for Newsnight about, say,

    If you were lucky it would get some newspaper pick-up and maybe the odd university zoology professor would write in to request a VHS to show his students, but to all intents and purposes it had gone forever into the ether.

    Not any more.

    Back in the news

    Now we can keep our highlights available on the site for months, and when stories we've done films, interviews and discussions about come back into the news, you can watch all the background in TV quality on this site.

  • CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE 'BACK IN THE NEWS' INDEX

    Jeremy Paxman's debate on nuclear energy, recorded months before this week's announcement of a nuclear review, or a profile of Angela Merkel, confirmed this week as German Chancellor, or Peter Marshall's original report from March on the terror suspect Babar Ahmad, finally extradited to the US last week.

    Pete Doherty

    And who is the person who has gained most tabloid column inches this year? Not Bush or Blair I suspect, but the rock star, crack-head and Kate Moss consort, Pete Doherty.

    His memorable interview with Kirsty Wark has been on our site all year and is still much visited by that growing subset of people who love both Newsnight and Babyshambles.

    And one day soon you'll be able to stick them all on your iPod and watch on your way to work.

    Will the lights go out?

    From my point of view the most satisfying example of this revolution happened this week - twice. Two years ago I was involved in a documentary for BBC2 called If... The Lights Go Out.


    The drama-doc scenario described a future in which Britain's North Sea gas runs out, the wholesale cost of energy rockets and a very cold winter is on its way.

    As disaster looms the fictional government of the day says "come back nuclear power, all is forgiven."

    Sound familiar? Spookily - although our scenario was set in 2010 - it all started to come to pass in November 2005 as the cold winter began to bite, gas prices soared and it was reported that the Prime Minister has become convinced of the need for nuclear power.

    I've been banging on for months that the BBC should repeat the programme, but so far I've failed to trouble the schedules.

    Now I don't need to. You can watch it here instead at any time of the day or night.

    Like TV, only better.



    WATCH THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS

  • Margaret Thatcher's final weeks in Downing Street
  • Charting the evolution of the historic new drinking laws
  • What has been happening to stocks of flu vaccinations?




  • SEE ALSO:
    What is the point of Jeremy Paxman?
    17 Nov 05 |  Newsnight Home
    Could you do better?
    11 Nov 05 |  Newsnight Home
    Smears, the Sun and squirrels
    04 Nov 05 |  Newsnight Home



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