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BBC News offers AV RSS

Ahh, the joys of having your own site where you can write (almost) whatever you want – not the on-message line…

So my old friends in BBC News have launched RSS feeds for the BBC News Audio Video service officially called “BBC News Player” (I’m a bit of a BBC playa’, don’t you know? Oh, never mind).

Here’s the links you need:

UK BBC News Site (

International BBC News Site (

The disappointing thing with it is that these RSS feeds link through to a BBC News page where you can then view the clip via an embedded picture. It’s not using enclosure tags or Media RSS to actually syndicate the AV content.

Whilst I find it as frustrating as the rest of you, I should point out that the reason for this is that much of the content on BBC News AV packages (clips) is actually derived via agency and wire material. Under contractual obligation it has to be clear to the end user that they are watching a BBC News clip, presumably so that they can identify the licence of the material.

It turns out the reason for not being able to provide standalone AV packages is not to do with branding anymore, but due to context. I’ve been informed that this is now the reason, and I’m very happy to be able to update this post with the correct information.

The BBC is very concerned that the associated text that accompanies AV packages must also displayed as these set context. In particular, this text field can be used to confirm who the package is about (to avoid libel) and when filing has taken place under ‘reporting restrictions’. The fundamental concern is that by syndicating links to the AV assets themselves, these will become reproduced in other sites, but the context-setting text could be lost.

Whilst I agree with the concern, this seems easily fixed by ensuring the packages are produced in a way that does set the context from the outset – maybe through including the presenter introducing the clip or through some intro text in the video. But alas, this seems either too difficult to achieve or not considered worth the cost/benefit.

It’s still possible that a proper BBC News AV RSS feed might be launched in the future, one that uses Media RSS (or similar) to publish the urls to the AV clips themselves – but sadly that will still only be for streaming and not for download. Again there a contractual issues here which preclude the BBC from allowing it’s users to download video clips to their computers, iPods, PSP’s and portable media devices.

In the meantime, if you want an RSS feed of BBC News AV clips, I suggest you check out my own unofficial feed.

Published in BBC News Website Links News Web Services


  1. What might it take to get MediaRSS out of ’em?

  2. […] Following on from my recent post “BBC News offers AV RSS“, I have been supplied with some new information from the BBC. Now that I’ve been informed of this alternative reason, and I’m very happy to have updated the original post and also post this correction notice. […]

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