Why BBC Doesn’t Use Flash (Video)
Those of you based in the UK (and probably some of you who aren’t) may have noticed some recent changes on the BBC website, in particular the update to the audio and video player which now uses Windows Media Player as well as Real Player (it used to be just Real).
Steve Hermann, BBC News Editor, has now posted a reply to user comments and in particular he details why the BBC chose not to use Flash Video for its news stories.
Reading in between the lines it seems that the overwhelming reason is cost due to the heavy investments the BBC has made into other platforms, infrastructure and so on, all of which related to non-Flash technologies.
The BBC streams a ton of video and audio content, both live and on demand. I
t would of course be a mammoth task to migrate this to Flash – and likely to be very expensive not only to set up but also to run – I hope Adobe takes note and considers loosening the licensing screw for Flash Media Server a bit.
One positive fact is the overwhelming push for Flash by the BBC website visitors, just check out the comments on this post.
Wow, public opinion has definitely shifted towards Flash and most readers appear to agree that Real sucks, WMP is ok-ish (if you’re not on a Mac) and that Flash would be a very welcome addition, backed by the already existing platforms.
Hermann agrees that Flash Video would be up for the job, both in quality and penetration, but that timing was bad as the BBC is essentially set up for Real and Windows Media and not for (streaming) Flash Video.
I really feel that Hermann would use Flash in a second if he could but unfortunately the BBC is a huge organization and they must generate some ROI on behalf of license fee payers for their Real and Windows Media investments, and that’s understandable.
I think they call this a tie-in
Stefan is a certified Flash Developer who has been involved with Flash Media
Server since its very early days. From his home office in the UK he has
handled a variety of projects, specializing in Flash Video and Rich Internet
Applications for clients that include CNET, USA Network and Unilever. Stefan
is the author of a series of Adobe Developer Center articles, has spoken at
several industry events and contributes a regular column on Flash Video to
Streaming Media Magazine. His site www.flashcomguru.com is one of the
largest online resources on Flash Video.