BBC Sport, which has long been a trusted source of football news for years, has scored an own goal with one of their new initiatives.
The site is now embedding video interviews into their football articles (view example). However, visitors from outside the UK are teased with a still from the video but are then robbed with a message that reads “Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory” (see image above).
BBC Sport could have done its overseas visitors a favor by providing a link to explain why the new policy. For example, are the videos not shown because the BBC only holds the license rights for the United Kingdom? Or, are the videos blocked because it’s UK residents (and partly the government) who fund the operation of BBC, and not overseas visitors — and therefore feels that overseas visitors should not see this content?
The “Cannot play media” messages that appear beneath the videos are a poor way of handling the user experience for overseas web visitors. BBC Sport could have programmed the page so that the videos wouldn’t even appear for overseas visitors (and would only appear for visitors from the UK). Better yet, EPL Talk would be interested in reading why BBC Sport has made these changes.
Editor’s addendum: BBC Sport’s Ben Gallop replied to my comment about the above situation on the BBC Sport Blog. Here’s his response:
“The issue about certain elements of our video coverage not being available overseas is not a new one, I’m afraid, and is the result of both rights restrictions (most of our rights deals are UK-only) and the cost of serving broadband streams (the BBC licence fee-payer cannot pick up the tab for costs incurred outside the UK). We are working with our colleagues in BBC Worldwide, who run the international version of our site, bbc.com, on a long-term solution for the latter issue, which would mean those interviews you can’t currently access would be available on broadband. I’ll report back on that when I know more.”