BBC Backstage

Ben Hammersley seems quite proud of this and rightly so. Through their new Backstage initiative, the BBC will provide data, resources and support for users who wish to build prototypes and proofs of concepts using BBC material. We will encourage people both inside and outside the BBC to share knowledge, ideas & prototypes with each other.

In reality this means providing XML feeds (mostly RSS) for as much of their content as they can. Of particular interest the feeds include:

  • BBC News (headlines, 100 recent stories, breaking news and more)
  • BBC Sport (headlines)
  • UK Travel (traffic delays, Tube problems)
  • Radio and Music (radio programme listings and some Podcasts)

Use of the content seems fairly unrestricted with one proviso: you cannot charge people for being able to access BBC content through your proposition. You can however make use of generic advertising such as Adwords.

All this content is being made available for free because of the way the BBC is funded, that is by £126.50 a year from every household in the UK that owns a television. BBC Online was recently criticised for competing with commercial entities; something it is not allowed to do within its mandate of public funding.