Red Bee Media has launched a next-generation video platform that it hopes will move online viewing beyond catch-up and on-demand by allowing viewers to watch live programmes via a beefed-up electronic programme guide.

Red Bee Media director of technology and innovation Steve Plunkett said it had also examined social media applications that allow users to “check in” to locations and would seek to replicate it and “socialise” the EPG so that viewers can register their enjoyment of a show.

“It’s a good way for content owners to recognise who their advocates are, and although the EPG is a traditional piece of navigation, you can do a lot with it, such as feed recommendations,” he said.

The use of enhanced metadata will allow the interactive EPG to include images, video clips and longer descriptions of programmes, as well as a search function and recommendations based on past preference and demographic profiling.

Plunkett said Red Bee’s end-to-end offering of ingest, storage and transcoding across viewing devices would appeal to broadcasters with first-generation online video platforms that have to deal with an “expensive and fragile” supply chain that can be difficult to update.

“We think there is enough differentiation in Red Player to encourage them to change from their online video platforms,” he said.

Red Bee is using Cisco’s Videoscape Media software to allow broadcasters to offer purchasing options such as subscription, download-to-own, rental and capped or uncapped library access. 24/7 Real Media will provide ad-serving technology, while Akamai will supply content distribution tools.

Red Bee manages content for the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Channel Red Player: discussions are taking place with UK broadcasters 4’s 4oD, Channel 5’s Demand Five and the Virgin Media Player, accounting for more than 90% of broadcaster video-on-demand content consumed in the UK.

Discussions are taking place with UK broadcasters and Red Bee is keen to use its presence in France, Germany and Spain to sell the platform across Europe. Plunkett was not concerned by the recent demise of Arqiva’s SeeSaw. “I don’t think [SeeSaw’s] lack of success is an industry trend. If you are competing directly with large broadcasters and don’t have a slightly different content line-up, then it’s going to be a challenge.”