BBC Programme Identifier

A BBC Programme Identifier (PID) is an alphanumeric, persistent, unique identifier for a television or radio programme brand, a season or series, or an individual episode, used by the BBC in their web URLs, iPlayer viewers, and internal databases.[1][2]

All PIDs consist of a lower-case letter, followed by seven or more other characters which may be lower case letters, or digits. Vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are not used, so that offensive words cannot be generated inadvertently. The first letter "b" means the content reference identifier (CRID) authority is Red Bee; a "p" means that the authority is the BBC's Programme Information Pages database, (PIPs). An "s" is used internally, for PIDs identifying partners and suppliers. Other sources, denoted by different opening letters, could potentially be introduced.

For example, the PID for the series The Life Scientific is b015sqc7[3] while the PID for the individual episode of that show first broadcast on 8 July 2014 is b048l0g3 which is used in its URL, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b048l0g3.[4]

PIDs have been created retrospectively, for some programmes from the pre-digital era.[5] An example, in the "p" range, is the PID for the 1956 Desert Island Discs episode featuring Ada Cherry Kearton, p009y95q.[5]

Most PIDs have eight characters, but in the past, some World Service programmes were given eleven-character PIDs, starting with "w"; an example is wcr5dr3dnl3.[6]

The BBC encourages viewers and listeners to machine tag media relating to programmes, on social sites such as Flickr, and their own blog posts, using the relevant PID, in the format bbc:programme=b048l0g3.[1]

PIDs are also used to identify BBC programmes, in Wikidata.[7]

References

  1. Ferne, Tristan (18 August 2009). "BBC - Radio Labs: Machine tagging the BBC". BBC. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  2. "BBC - Commissioning Radio - Glossary". BBC Online. Retrieved 15 July 2014. - this source erroneously expands the acronym as "Packet Identification number"
  3. "BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific - Available now". BBC Online. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  4. "BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Zoe Shipton". BBC Online. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  5. "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Ada Cherry Kearton". BBC Online. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  6. "BBC World Service - The World Today, 02/06/2008". BBC Online. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  7. "BBC program identifier - Wikidata". Wikidata. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
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