QR codes for BBC programmes and some other stuff

We’re on a bit of a roll at the moment with our work on /programmes, so quick on the heals of the work to integrate iPlayer and programme credits onto our episode pages I’m chuffed to announce another batch of new features: QR-Codes, schedules and um calls to inaction.

Torchwood episode page

QR-Codes, if you’ve not come across them before, are a bit like two-dimensional bar codes created by the Japanese company Denso-Wave. But unlike bar codes you can encode any string you fancy (up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters) into an image and this means you can convert a URL into a QR-Code.

You can then print QR-Codes on posters, t-shirts, scarfs, whatever. People can then decode them by taking a picture, using specific software installed on their mobile phone, to read and convert the code back to the URL – so they can easily visit the web site.

Anyway – every BBC programme now has a QR code. You can get it by adding …/qrcode to the end of the URL for any programme page. For example, this is the URL for Platoon:


And this is its QR-Code:


QR Code

A more mainstream feature that’s also gone live today are schedule pages for some radio networks. For example:


And because of the way the technology works we also get a bunch of new pages for free:


And finally we’re flagging when episodes are next due to be broadcast, when we don’t have any media and links to the iPlayer so you can download the video.

18 responses to “QR codes for BBC programmes and some other stuff”

  1. Wow! Amazing! Sugoi!
    Do you link to mobile enabled pages already?

  2. […] BBC comes now with QR Codes Category: QR Code, Data Matrix…    By editor at 19:21QR codes for BBC programmes and some other stuff We’re on a bit of a roll at the moment with our work on /programmes, so quick on the heals […]

  3. Nice to be able to browse previous days’ schedules again (for those who remember the old archived HTML pages that existed until a few years ago)

    What would be very handy: To know what’s scheduled to *be* available on the iplayer – like the [subtitles] [audio description] [dolby surround] flags you get at the end of TV listings – and for this to be included in the data that’s sent out to the likes of Digiguide – Channel 4 already seem to be doing this.

  4. Roger – No we don’t have mobile pages just yet – but it is something we are working on and hope to be able to launch in the near future.

    William – Thanks, good idea, I’ll see what we can do.

  5. Nice!

    It would be good if there were links to get to the schedule pages from the /programmes page.

    Also, a minor bug:

    If you’re on a programmes/XX/episodes/YEAR page, the links to the other years don’t work. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wkqb/episodes/2008


  6. Another bug:

    If you add “.xxx” to the end of any of the URLs, you get the same page back as if you hadn’t added extension, with a 200 OK response. Would be better, for the sake of canonical URLs, if it returned 404.


  7. Hi Frankie

    Thanks for the year bug spot. We’ll fix

    But i can’t recreate the .xxx bug. can you give an example please?

  8. […] si pochvalují relativní úspěch deníku Sun a pokračují v dalších krocích (BBC má semakódy k televiznímu programu, Sun získává zajímavé inzerenty), v USA přivítali čárkový kod […]

  9. […] Until a couple of weeks ago QR Codes were very much on the periphery of my attention radar. Then some of my colleagues working on the BBC Programmes BETA hit on the ingenious idea of automatically generating a QR Code for every BBC programme (just add /qrcode to the end of any programme page URL to view – more from Tom Scott). […]

  10. Came across QR codes 2 weeks ago and had an idea. Created a website the allows you to create your own QR code and link it to any web address. You can log in and change where the QR code points to at any time.

    Website is http://www.qrme.co.uk if anyone is interested.


  11. I found a good website on QR code. You can generate barcodes, decode them with mobiles, etc. : http://www.jaxo-systems.com

  12. […] Members of the Future Media and Technology group have blogged about it here and here. […]

  13. What do you use to create the QR codes? Ive been looking at few options but haven’t found anything open source that encodes them on the fly and can be used commercially.

    Did you buy something or write your own?

    And good work making this data available via QR codes!

  14. @Jb

    It uses a JavaScript library by Kazuhiko Arase. Have a look at Duncan’s blog whomwah.com [Duncan wrote the QR Code implementation on /programmes] for more details.



  15. […] (A project I’m one of the Software Engineer’s on, at the BBC) a few weeks back. They’ve been talked about since so I won’t repeat things, only to say it was a simple implementation using a JavaScript […]

  16. […] QR codes for BBC programmes and some other stuff — a lunchtime of hacking from the wonderful Duncan Robertson gave us QR Codes for every BBC programme. […]

  17. Check out this website http://www.beqrious.com. You can generate qr codes and save them as PDF file. They will have a tracking system soon…

  18. […] testado no Brasil em jornalismo, publicidade, blogs e redes sociais e já usado há algum tempo por BBC, Google, Claro e Volkswagem, entre […]

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