Swipe to skip, swipe to like, swipe to share: these are the familiar smartphone motions that the BBC and a Kenyan startup called Ongair
are using in a mobile-focused website called BBC Drop
that’s available for testing today. The project came out of a hackathon held by the BBC World Service and BBC Connected Studio (its digital R&D arm) that invited African tech experts to generate ideas for reaching young, digital-savvy African audiences. It was designed last year in Nairobi and user-tested in several other countries in Africa. Users can try out and rate the pilot for the next three months
The pilot is for Androids (which makes sense given Android’s dominance in the African market), and relevant BBC content is filtered for users this way:
BBC Drop asks the user for a few favorite topics, or social media preferences, and then continues to learn what they like and dislike from what they swipe on screen. There is also the option of an even more personal news feed which incorporates the user’s own social feeds. The end result is users getting to see content specifically tailored to them, and the stuff they are not interested in being filtered out.
Content from all across the BBC feeds into the new Drop site.
The project is one of the BBC’s many recent efforts to reach audiences in Africa. BBC Connected Studio is currently seeking ideas from teams in Nigeria for improving and broadening the reach of BBC content there (the deadline for submissions is next week).