Source: ForgeRock via BBC
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organization and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. Its BBC News department holds the title as the world’s largest broadcast news organization and generates 120 hours of radio and television output each day.
In an effort to stay on top of its game and enhance its offerings, the BBC created the myBBC service, a project focused on building one-to-one connections with the BBC’s global audience. The goal of myBBC is to deliver mass personalization through diverse content and secure identity-management processes.
Phil Fearnley, the director of Homepage and myBBC, explains the motive behind creating the service. “The BBC didn’t really have a relationship with customers. We had a relationship with households through the license fees. We had TV viewers, we had radio listeners, we had visitors to our website. We didn’t have an engagement model. We had—as you might expect –a broadcast model. We created great content, and sent it out through various means, and hoped people liked it.”
With the myBBC project, Fearnley and his team wanted to transform the nature of the relationships the BBC has with its audience. He breaks down the effort into three distinct parts:
- The need for personalization of all products and services.
- A mission to build out a two-way direct marketing capability.
- More knowledge about audience members to improve what the BBC has to offer.
On the Path to Digital Transformation
To advance this effort, the BBC needed a fully integrated identity management solution, one that could help the myBBC service build lasting relationships with its global audience. It also had to deliver the most optimally personalized experience for customers.
The BBC considered several factors and trends when searching for the ideal identity management solution:
Changing viewing habits. The variety of services and number of devices available to viewers has changed quite a bit over the years. Its viewers now demand content that has been tailored based on viewing history and personal preferences.
Fully scalable platform. Whether the BBC experienced a spike in viewers or a dip, it needed a solution that was able to accommodate the ups and downs associated with audience commitment and viewership.
Ability to expand along with digital user base. A necessary requirement for the BBC was to have a platform that was able to provide secure access to all users, while complying with privacy and access requirements.
“Like for like” access across all devices and platforms. The BBC wanted the option to create a more streamlined, less confusing experience for the myBBC user. It also wanted to offer customers the ability to modify these experiences in the future, if needed.
Image: ForgeRock via BBC
Connected Digital Identity Solution
The BBC found its solution from connected digital identity specialist ForgeRock, a company based in San Francisco that focuses on IoT security solutions. BBC chose the ForgeRock Identity Platform, a flexible solution that can be deployed on premise or in the cloud. The BBC uses the cloud-based solution, allowing it to replace the onsite legacy infrastructure with a more flexible and easy-to-upgrade alternative. The platform also utilizes Amazon Web Services, allowing it to be scaled up to accommodate large spikes in audience traffic and scaled back down to accommodate day-to-day traffic numbers.
With this solution in place, the BBC’s account infrastructure is powering a wide range of identity-driven features across all major channels. It is helping to create a more tailored and intimate experience for the BBC audience by providing personal recommendations based on viewing habits. It also supports like-for-like access via BBC apps across a range of connected devices, allowing viewers to watch a TV show on iPad on their ride home from work and then switch to their smart TV once they’ve arrived—and pick up exactly where they’ve left off.
Finally, the new account infrastructure is fully capable of scaling alongside the BBC’s growth plan, which is to accommodate up to 20 million BBC accounts over the next few years.
Fearnley notes that the solution met the goals, as the BBC backbone now supports “a seamless user experience that delivers ease-of-use and convenience in a personalized, private setting.” He adds in a statement that ForgeRock and partner Accenture “have provided the technology that enables us to create 21st century digital experiences for BBC audiences. It is a major step in the digital transformation for the BBC, providing the gateway to a better, richer and more personalized experience of everything that the BBC has to offer.”
Securing the User Experience on Any Device