Between news, TV, radio programming and more, the BBC is constantly producing a vast array of content. There's far too much for any one person to consume, and on top of that it's all distributed across various websites, iPlayer and the like. As a public service broadcaster, the BBC is required to accommodate a broad range of interests, and BBC+ -- a new iOS and Android app launching today -- is all about highlighting what's relevant to you, the licence fee payer that funds it all.
Load up the app and you'll be greeted by the "At a glance" homepage, which offers you a quick look at the weather and a couple of big stories that are capturing the public's attention. Beyond this, though, it's a fully personalised experienced based on topics that interest you. You can add any of a long list of editorial themes to the simple horizontal carousel: From local and regional news, specific sports, science, gaming, music, business, politics, health, food, faith, and many, many more.
The idea isn't just to surface news stories, though -- the personalised section of the BBC News app does that already -- but all kinds of content related to that topic. You might be interested in a specific sport, for example, but would never turn to Radio 5 Live on your morning commute. If, however, there was a particularly good interview or debate on said sport on the previous morning's breakfast show, it'll pop up in BBC+. It could be a news story, of course, or it could just as easily be a clip from a TV broadcast you may never have seen otherwise.
The concept (and look) will undoubtedly be familiar to regular visitors of the BBC homepage, since BBC+ does more or less the same thing, but in app format. In fact, the app requires you to sign in with a BBC iD, and if you've personalised your BBC homepage using an existing account, BBC+ will auto-populate with what it already knows to be your interests.
The BBC tells us there are other benefits to understanding the individual, signed-in user, too. The data generated tells the BBC what content formats are the most popular (and what aren't), what's trending, what themes people are engaging with, and so on. This isn't simply being fed into algorithms, however, since BBC+ is also heavily curated by human hands.
Part of the reason BBC+ was created is to do with our constantly evolving consumption habits. While the app will host long-form content, there will be a ton of bitesized features also. It's no secret that the vast majority of smartphone users dip in and out of apps for a few minutes during the day. A cursory scan of Instagram on the train to work, a couple of Facebook videos at lunchtime, a few brief glances at Twitter in between. And perhaps, on the walk home later today, a quick flick through the BBC+ app as well.