Yesterday, the BBC announced that it had hired Daniel Danker, from Microsoft's video on demand division, to head up the BBC’s video on demand division. His official position is General Manager, Programmes & On-Demand. Daniel Danker used to work on Mediaroom (Microsoft’s IPTV platform) and the Zune entertainment platform.
Erik Huggers, BBC Director of BBC Future Media & Technology, said of the appointment:
"The BBC iPlayer has been a great success, and as video and audio-on-demand comes of age we want to stay ahead of our audiences' expectations by developing and delivering world-class products. In Daniel, we've hired a great talent with a proven track record in product development, and I'm very happy to welcome him to the team."
Danker said that he believes the iPlayer “has transformed the way people interact with media in the UK," but thinks that the BBC is at an early stage in the video on demand evolution. It sounds like he has big plans for the BBC’s online distribution and hopes to “focus on the innovations that become possible when content production and consumer experience evolve together.” Danker will also be in charge of revamping the search experience of the BBC’s sites.
This appointment follows the BBC’s rollout of the new version of the BBC iPlayer which features social network integration, allowing users to recommend programmes to their friends and see what their friends like.
In the coming months, the BBC will also be adding the ability to chat on Windows Live Messenger whilst watching a programme, following a trend at the BBC to use Microsoft technologies; the BBC currently uses Bing maps for its interactive maps.
It’s unknown what Danker will have planned for the iPlayer but he could plan to use Silverlight, Microsoft’s competitor to Adobe Flash, to distribute the BBC’s online videos instead of Flash. Silverlight offers the ability to instantly stream HD quality TV programs and is the technology that Zune uses for movie playback and streaming. With Danker’s experience on the Mediaroom team he might also be interested in creating better, more integrated experiences for set top boxes.
At Neowin, we have our fingers crossed that the BBC brings iPlayer to Media Center and the Xbox 360. Until hell freezes over, there's some un-official methods of enabling this functionality right here.