iPlayer: search resolution

My kids watch a lot of content through the iPlayer and one of the things that I’ve noticed is they use Google to search iplayer: Google is their default way in to web content.  Fine. However, Google returns urls for programmes that are beyond the 7 day window, whereas searching from iPlayer itself brings back only those programmes within the 7 day window.

Searching for “iplayer (programme name)” you get the most ‘relevant’ search results, in this case an episode of the programme rather than say, the series, as it turns out there is no concept of a “series” as the model for iPlayer is based on pips (programme information pages), now pids (programme IDs), the key thing there being ‘programmes’:

google search.gifAnd, this is the view when following that top link for “something special” a cbeebies programme (which my eldest son finds for my youngest):

something special google.gifThis is the view from iPlayer for the same search:

something special iplayer.gifTo make matters worse when you land from Google the programmes that are presented back as “similar” are not from the series “something special”, they’re not even from the same strand, cbeebies (they’re from cbbc).

It can’t be difficult to resolve the out of date programmes displayed when coming from Google to those within the seven day window can it? 


  1. Interesting. I guess the BBC have to weigh up whether it’s worth removing iPlayer pages from the Google index (via a robots meta-tag) when the videos are no longer available. They’ll lose some inbound traffic, but might improve the user experience (after all, the pages don’t have a lot of value without the video, as all the textual information plus more is available on the equivalent /programme page).
    One point you got wrong, albeit understandably, is that the BBC’s programme ontology (which uses the pids) DOES have the concept of ‘a series’, and even a programme ‘brand’ – however only the episodes themselves get an iPlayer page currently. There is a /programmes page for series and brands though – eg see Something Special.
    I discuss the distinction between iPlayer pages and /programmes pages over on my blog – increasingly it seems a bit pointless to have 2 pages for the same programme, other than for ‘marketing’ reasons…

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