FROM THE ARCHIVE OF: The TV Room
Some viewers are unhappy about the relaunched Ceefax.
[00:00:00] PROGRAMME: on 16th November 1996, the BBC’s teletext service, Ceefax, was relaunched.
Technical issues on the morning of the relaunch caused page access time to slow down dramatically. That issue was addressed during the weekend of the relaunch. Though some viewers continued to complain that the service was still slower than before.
Viewer surveys were showing a gradual decline in Ceefax’s audience share: 13m viewers a week versus 17m for the ITV/Channel 4 Teletext service. The relaunch of Ceefax was an attempt to reverse that decline.
Peter Clifton, editor, Ceefax said the changes were in response to viewer feedback, which requested more variety. The changes to the structure of the service were an attempt to make it easier to get around.
Feedback during the Biteback report suggests a degree of frustration regarding the wait time on pages that have multiple sub-pages.
Peter explains that this is a limitation of teletext transmission. The pages can only be viewed in the order they are transmitted (sequentially). An advanced set would be required to capture and cache the pages.
One Biteback contributor complained about the editorial changes, suggesting Ceefax had become more tabloid. The viewer complained that news coverage had now been reduced in order to make room for other sections, such as content for children.
Peter Clifton rejected the claim, and said that news coverage had actually been expanded. Sport had also been increased to 100 basic pages. Clifton said Teletext (ITV/Channel 4) would pale into insignificance in these areas.
PICTURED: behind-the-scenes in the Ceefax newsroom. COPYRIGHT: BBC.