The OU on iPlayer (Err? Sort of not…)

Last week, Martin Belam blogged a must-read-it-if-you-haven’t-already post on How the Ian Tomlinson G20 video spread The Guardian brand across the media, describing how the Guardian watermarked video splashed the Guardian brand across numerous other news websites and publications through their embedding of the video footage, or images captured from the video:

Having The Guardian’s logo burned into the video footage meant that many other online news publications had to display images which advertised the fact that they had not been the first paper to get access to this content. They approached reproducing the images and crediting The Guardian in a variety of ways both in print and online.

Now I know that OU co-produced content for the BBC is a different beast altogether, but let’s just see for sake of interest how the OU brand gets splashed across the web via co-produced content that is made available on the BBC iPlayer.

Take Coast, for example:

Start the programme playing, and we get the broadcast channel ident:

BBC iplayer coast ident

(I’m not sure what’s used if a programme is repeated on another channel a week later? Which ident is used then, e.g. 29 days after the broadcast on the original channel but maybe only 22 days after broadcast on the secondary channel?)

Then we get the intro at the top of the programme…

Notice the double dose of BBC Branding?

BBC identified on iPlayer

The watermark in the top left corner is present throughout:

The OU does get a mention, of a sort in the closing credits, but the further details URI is a BBC one:

And finally, at the closing captions:

…no URL though…

Maybe there’s a mention in the programme info?


Okay, so how about OU/BBC co-pro content that makes it onto the official BBC Youtube channel? Something like a bit of James May’s 20th century?

Well, I guess there’s a textual credit, even though it’s the BBC’s logo watermarked into the actual video. And the video does have embedding disabled, so other people can’t run with the content… (I’m not sure if we’re allowed to put content like that on the site, though, which has historically been run as a co-branded OU/BBC site and under BBC editorial guidelines (although I believe that may be set to change…).

So how would it be different on an OU iPlayer (cf. CBeebies iPlayer, and Why I Think an OU iPlayer Presence Would be a “Good Thing”)?

Well if we had a version of iPlayer cf. the CBBC iPlayer, a programme could possibly open with an OU ident and carry an OU watermark?

And failing that, on the main iPlayer site, a semi-transparent, overlaid OU watermark logo somewhere might be appropriate?

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “The OU on iPlayer (Err? Sort of not…)”

  1. nice page. i came here looking after googling for some educational audio to listen to whilst i cooking- i naturally typed in “bbc iplayer OU”.

    So its not just about watermarking syndicated content….its about making it findable by having the key phrases ‘OU’ and ‘Open University’ in the text of the source page.

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