BBC launch Taster for "experimental" content on multiple platforms

BBC Taster
A home for the Beeb's more experimental stuff

Want to see extended interviews, experimental nuggets of drama, more Dr Who, gigs and "collaborative poems about body image"? BBC controller Danny Cohen and editorial lead Will Saunders today announced BBC Taster to deliver all of the above, and it's live right now, here.

Announced in a blizzard of BBC speak – "We're constantly iterating to go beyond the portfolio as we know it today… We're putting more than the linear experience in the scope of our production teams… We're challenging the story teller to tell stories in a different way, etc" – the mini site is a kind of conceptual beauty contest, letting you try out the BBC's new ideas across every imaginable genre, rate 'em and share 'em.

With mobile now matching desktop for traffic chez Beeb (24m UK visits in November), the site works across "all" platforms, although as several of the experiments require Flash, it doesn't really work across "all" platforms. But anyway. Most mobile platforms that aren't Apple ones.

Danny Cohen described the BBC's approach to tech as, "Balancing content now while planning for our future," which seems to translate as, "let's squeeze out as much material as we can, and whack it on the internet."

So some of the little nuggets on offer make use of material the BBC's already shot but couldn't use, rather like the extras on a DVD. For instance, a Lena Dunham interview that was originally cut to 10 minutes for use on Newsnight is here in all its glory, replete with a noddy-headed, animatronic Lena and Jennifer Saunders, because it's the BBC.

The Taster site is a fun kind of mess, with no division by genre (yet; we bet that'll change once it's more established), so a live gig and backstage swearathon by hip-hop stars Run The Jewels rubs shoulders with an app that pulls key events that happened during your lifetime from the BBC's archives, with the content chosen based on your Facebook likes.

There was also the promise held out that Radio 1 – rebranded as "R1OT" would be entirely run as an experiment in rolling social-media democracy, with a promo vid suggesting you'd be able to vote for who would host the breakfast show tomorrow. Unfortunately, this turned out to be an exaggeration, but you may be able to vote for what song gets played next.

The point here is not just that the BBC is sharing new ideas, but that it wants you to rate them. So, for instance, if R1OT proves to be massive, who knows, maybe in ten years' time you will be able to vote for who DJs in what slot, and who gets handed their P45. Ultimately, maybe, you'll never be able to moan about what's on the BBC again, because you will have chosen what gets made.

Right now, there's a decent if not overwhelming amount to look at, from "experiments" that are likely to be successes – there's some Dr Who, of course – to collaborative poems about body image. The test will be how much new content comes online subsequently – Will Saunders said another 20 bits of content will be coming online in the next month.The tech innovation and experimental spirit here are impressive, but it's the actual content that'll see Taste sink or swim.