The Story of Now: BBC experiment with new platform ‘Taster’

Last week the BBC launched two new interactive documentaries – alongside a load of other interactive content – on their new platform BBC Taster.

Ostensibly aimed at a younger generation, the documentaries feature a backstage insight into the inescapable hip hop stars Run The Jewels, as well as a 20-part interactive series hosted by Idris Elba called The Story of Now.

The Story of Now is made up of five-minute interactive videos that bring together games, web pages, slideshows, other videos and polls, to explore some of the fundamental questions about the human condition and history of the world – from the beginning of time to now.

It’s promising to see the BBC embracing and experimenting with interactive formats – following on from their WW1 interactive and others earlier in the year. From watching so many interactive documentaries, this current iteration feels a bit like a first step; utilising a number of interactive elements, exploring a range of different content and releasing the work on a beta platform. I think it’s safe to say the BBC are certainly testing the waters with this format and aren’t far off jumping in.

Executive Editor of Knowledge & Learning Online, Chris Sizemore and, the Head of Commissioning at BBC History, Martin Davidson commented on the site:

“We’re exploring the potential of interactive storytelling that sits in the gap between video games and regular, linear TV shows. This pilot obviously doesn’t bridge that gap but it does experiment with interactivity on a high end, specialist factual production.

We wanted to look at what levels of interaction works, to find out what is the right amount. What it also does is to help bridge the cultures of digital and TV. That’s one for us in the BBC, but if we can find out the best ways to make that work it could get very interesting.”

The work was commissioned by the BBC and made by technology company TouchCast to ‘explore the potential of interactive formats’ – it will be interesting to see how these collaborative projects develop in the future!