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BBC launches interactive ‘Taster’ platform to test and develop new ideas

The BBC on Monday launched a new initiative aimed at showcasing its latest ideas linked to digital content and emerging technologies.

The British media behemoth said BBC Taster will feature “early and experimental concepts from across TV, radio, and online” and encourage feedback from users to help it develop the best of its most popular ideas.

The new platform aims to “try out new ways of telling stories, develop new talent, and put new technology through its paces,” the publicly financed corporation said, adding that it should lead to the creation of more social and interactive content, as well as material and services born out of “ideas from left-field.”

Content at launch includes Kneejerk, a comedy feature described as “unplanned, unscripted and unlike most of the things we do.” Kneejerk involves improv group The Noise Next Door taking trending social media material, including tweets, GIFs and Vines, and turning it all into “a comedy stage.”

There’s also a “no-holds barred conversation” between Girls creator and writer Lena Dunham and Brit comedienne Jennifer Saunders; exclusive and interactive material from American hip-hop duo Run the Jewels’ recent gig at London’s Koko venue; and Your Story, an online tool that “intertwines your back story with BBC archive news and events.”

The initiative should enable the BBC to gain a greater understanding of audience desires, and help it to create more original content across all platforms.

“Innovation has been at the heart of the BBC since the birth of radio and TV, right through to the digital age,” Ralph Rivera, director of BBC Future Media, said in a release. Describing BBC Taster as “the next step,” the executive said the new tool will help bring together the organization’s editorial and technology experts and take the production process closer to audiences.

“This will give us valuable feedback and technical insights, helping us further develop our ideas and work on those with the greatest potential,” Rivera added.