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BBC News adds live stats (+ XML)

The BBC News Website has added a number of “Live Stats” features to their site. And I’ve been able to derive the urls for all the XML files powering it – creating some amazing mash-up potential!

First off, the “official” features are:

BBC News Live Stats Puffbox

screengrab of the BBC News live stats puffbox

These appear on all stories (Puffbox is the term for anything on the right-hand side of a story or promotion pieces on index pages).

BBC News Live Stats Map

BBC News live stats map

It’s a nice enough consumer-orientated Flash map, I thought… But then realised “Arhh, Flash!”. Of course, that means the data will be driven by XML-over-HTTP! So here comes my derived ‘unofficial’ features:

BBC News Live Stats: Most Popular by Region:

 Worldwide (ALL)
 North America
 South America

BBC News Live Stats – Most Popular by Email:

 By Email

BBC News Live Stats – Most Popular by the Hour:


In all cases, stories are listed purely by their ID in the BBC News CPS. However, urls can be easily derived as follows:

For text/’normal’ IDs:<id>.stm

For video IDs:<videoid>

(Please keep the reference to the namespace in there – BBC folk use those urls to monitor link popularity, and I believe it is important for the BBC to be able to discover just how important third-party use like this is in terms of driving traffic back to their site.)

Also, the new BBC News Alert Ticker contains some interesting OPML files that include reference to previously un-announced “Breaking News” RSS feeds:

BBC News RSS – Breaking News:

 Breaking News (UK Edition)
 Breaking News (World Edition)

(Like most BBC News RSS feeds, it is probably safe to assume that both the “World Edition” and the “UK Edition” would carry the same breaking news. The generation of two feeds is a ‘bug’ from the way the BBC News website is run with separate UK and International facing options)


Well there you go. I may have left, and the rest of the BBC but I’m still keen to make sure all this good data gets out into mash-up space.

Finally I would like to take the opportunity to confirm that all of the above urls were derived by sniffing HTTP packets being requested by computer to the BBC servers by the Live Stats Map or from the OPML files that came with the BBC News Alert Ticker. It’s all public data folks, and nothing NDA.

Published in BBC News Website News Tools Web Services


  1. Hey – I like these!

    I did notice the breaking news page when I first went to on my PDA – far better cleaner experience than the last time I tried this!

  2. Matt Matt

    Thanks for these Ben.

    Just a quick pointer. I was about to use the region XML feeds and I noticed that they all link to the same feed (Worldwide), but I guessed the number for each feed…

  3. Ben Ben

    Lol, shit! You’re right.

    Just changed them. Thanks for spotting.


  4. David David

    You’ve mixed up the “BBC News RSS – Breaking News” feeds, so the UK link points to the world edition.

  5. Ben Ben

    Doh, thanks David.


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