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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
BBC opens TV listings for 'remix'
Image of a man using a laptop
Development of new applications is getting more open and collaborative
Developers and designers are being encouraged to come up with innovative ways of using TV and radio schedules by taking part in a BBC competition.

The competition, announced at the Open Tech conference in London, has been organised by the BBC's backstage.bbc.co.uk developer network.

Backstage lets people remix the BBC's content to make new applications.

The latest content release is seven-day listings information for TV and radio, in a format called TV Anytime.

The backstage project, which is part-sponsoring the Open Tech conference, opened its doors to developers in May, but officially launches at Open Tech on Saturday.

Play time

"We want people to innovate and come up with prototypes to demonstrate new ways of exploring the BBC's TV schedule," backstage.bbc.co.uk project leader Ben Metcalfe told the BBC News website.

Companies are waking up and realising that they need to have a conversation with their audience
Ben Metcalfe, backstage.bbc.co.uk
"We have some ideas: people might want to combine schedules with web search services, like del.icio.us."

Del.icio.us is an online social bookmarking manager which lets people collect, categorise, and share their favourite web links easily.

Users "tag" their bookmarks with keywords which makes them easier to find and share.

Mr Metcalfe added that developers might want to play around with the TV schedule data, mixing it with other social elements, such as recommendation systems for friends or alert systems, for instance.

Or the schedules could be combined with other web data to create genre-based programme searches or listings.

The competition runs until 5 September. The winner will be invited to take the proposal forward with the BBC.

Creative networks

Since May, more than 50 prototype ideas exploring different ways to use BBC feeds and content for non-commercial purposes have already been submitted to the backstage.bbc.co.uk project.

There are a number which the BBC is interested in looking at further, said Mr Metcalfe.

He said the themes of the Open Tech conference (formerly NotCon) fit well with what BBC was trying to achieve in its bid to be more open and inclusive.

The conference will include talks from Yahoo's Jeremy Zawodny and discussion panel sessions with well known net commentators, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Cory Doctorow, who also contributes to the award-winning blog, Boing Boing.

Image of woman on a laptop
Firms recognising they need to engage with audiences
Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext, will also be speaking at the gathering.

Backstage.bbc.co.uk's ultimate aim is to foster a strong community network of creative talent in the UK which can work effectively in innovative, open and collaborative ways.

This is a big theme within creative industries. The net has provided a powerful distribution channel and knowledge network for many people.

Big companies, such as Google and Yahoo, have also recognised the value of being more open by releasing content tool kits for developers to create applications with.

"Companies are waking up and realising that they need to have a conversation with their audience," explained Mr Metcalfe.

"The BBC has a good opportunity to take the lead in that, and others are realising it has its benefits too."

The project is part of the BBC's commitment in response to last year's Graf Report, which appraised what the BBC does online, to support social innovation and help user efforts.

The BBC also recently launched a dedicated open source website, aimed at providing information about and links to BBC open source projects.

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