Apr 192007

A great 3rd day at Milia and a much broader spectrum of issues discussed around the many Milia halls. It started with the world’s most advanced broadband nation with Dr. Hyun-Oh Yoo giving us a rare insight into the worlds most culturally integrated social network – Cyworld in South Korea. This was the first time he had shared some of this information with a European audience (almost dwarfing the impact from and Asian perspective, Peter Li’s IPTV talk later in the day). Fighting through a hay fever Dr. Yoo talked in a gravelly voice about the ubiquitous infrastructure, and how it allows Cyworld to be accessible across the super-broadband fiber pipes and always-on wireless networks. The figures surrounding the service, particularly penetration make MySpace look like a niche activity, well not quite. But here goes:

20 million subscribers
40% of TOTAL population
96% of 20-29 year olds use Cyworld regularly
20 billion monthly page views and 22 mill monthly unique visitors
$300 000 in sales of digital items daily
100 000 video uploads daily
210 million songs sold, currently 6 mill per month


That last figure makes it second only to iTunes for volume of music sales – who says social networks don’t have business models. Dr Yoo also presented a slide that compared the service to some of our more recognisable web 2.0 brands – it is interesting how Second Life is up there with YouTube and flickr, more so as the Cyworld virtual reality is extremely Habbo in style vs true 3D.


A refreshing follow-up to this talk was an uncomfortably titled “The Future of Interactive TV”. Eloquently steered and captained by Brian Seth-Hurst (who is also the key enabler also for the International Interactive Emmy Awards of course– see later) it became apparent that labelling TV services that have an interactive component as Interactive TV is now too limiting and emphasises TV too much – perhaps if the service ‘€˜only’€™ appeared on the one (TV) screen and all interaction took place there fine, but these are really in the minority and most are via mobile sms, telephony, stretched out across many platforms (TV is a part of the mix) or synchronised with online. There were some great new kid on the block examples of iTV and ones that started to merge media . Kim Lindholm from Motion Avenue in Finland showed something on the edge of my “mixed reality” continuum (a soon to be published post) a game/quiz show from Vietnam that has viewers appear as avatars in a virtual audience who get knocked out if they get answers wrong – of course the audience pays per question. He was followed by the grandfather of iTV Robert Chua who presented a more philosophical view of iTV. He questioned the definition of iTV as a relevant term when the same type of services are controlled by or fed to PC, mobile and TV via broadband pipes. The second panel in this session looked at enablers like Microsoft and OpenTV who themselves appear to be struggling with the melding of broadcast and broadband, games and linear.

Then a day of pitching started. Top and tailed by commercial entities that sandwiched a swathe of public service BBC 360 panels. My LAMP friend and colleague Jackie Turnure was pitching in the most defined session being Cross-Platform Brand Marketing. The three propositions trying to fulful a tight brief from Ogilvy and American Express were in brief terms, 1) an amazing race clone, 2) a chroma key ‘card ride’ and 3) an Alternate Reality Game. Without showing any bias I personally thought the ARG from Jackie the much stronger in terms of reach and originality but more importantly having a story (we shall see tomorrow who won).


These and many of the pitches that followed from the BBC panels seemed very light on narrative and most were function over form, without clearly defined structure or focus. There is a sense that many ad agencies and traditional broadcasters (as I said in the last post) are seeing Emerged Media as a way to allow users to participate, sometimes I feel to the detriment of the actual integrity of the proposition. We may be creating too many empty shells for viewers to fill without really drawing them in first with a great story. Frank Boyd again led key BBC folk though some less than enticing pitches. I thought the first two panels one on 360 docs and the second on 360 participation actually seemed interchangeable. All the doc props involved viewer input and the community ones were themed around documentary topics like the environment. So more blurring of labels as form, function and genre meld.


By the afternoon I was suffering from conference fatique, that moment when panels and panellists start to blur into one another. Luckily the IPTV vs Internet TV was a great idea and Justin Hewlett and others showed off a great cross section of the new walled garden TV, data and telephony services. After a while though all the badly designed interfaces started to blur into each other too. It became apparent in these sessions that penetration for many pockets of services around the world in the 50-100 thousand audience range is still very low and not significant due to two key things:

1 You can get most of the IPTV offerings via traditional TV distribution channels, so nothing really new to entice viewers (it was cited that 50% of subs were actually for the telephony and data elements and not the TV!)
2 The topic of the panel, the wild west internet is now delivering a much broader and compelling range of audio, video content.

The panel topic echoed a talk I gave to an IPTV ‘hyped’ audience in Sydney nearly two years ago (and cited on a few IPTV info sites) – the main premise being, the cats out of the bag, Internet TV (or broadband TV as I called it), the wild west way to get your TV morsels means IPTV may only have another 12 months or so to deliver on its promise, or be gone for good. As mentioned earlier I found Peter Li, the VP from BesTV in China illuminating if only for the stats he presented as context to IPTV potential in China.

CNNIC report for China July 2006 Internet users 130m. 40% growth for past 6 years Broadband users 80m Youth: 18.5 hrs/wek online vs 6.7 hrs/wk on TV Over 220 online video portals, 500 000 clips uploaded daily Concurrancy of viewers watching video online 500 000. ADSL 2.0+ goes to over 10 million users

The keynote of the day, after I managed to rush out and get my glad rags from the dry cleaners, was Jana Bennett and Ashley Highfield. I would like to give this more time and the awards so will leave that until the next post. For now though a taster shot of the BBC keynoters.


I was lucky to be a judge again at the Interactive International Emmy Awards and invited to the splendid evening session at the Carlton Ballroom. Only three awards up for grabs (and a special prize this year to BskyB -€“ well done). The event was excellently organised in the tradition of all the A-list ceremonies and I was lucky to be on one of the front tables, with the interactive programme folk. Also managed to grab a chat with Phil Rosedale who leads Linden Lab (Second Life) in the pre-award cocktails, which was a treat for me 😉


To the awards. Great to see the BBC finally win for their BBCi all emcompassing eTV and 24/7 service (I remember the days when it was called Digital Text – but wont go there now!). Great to see my old cohorts Nick Cohen and Phil Jay with big grins on their faces for the rest of the evening. Canada took the second award, Interactive Channel, for BITE Television a slightly anarchistic, irrelevant channel. The most exciting award of the evening though for me was the interactive programme award and I was siting between two of the nominees on a distinctly Canadian table 8. Three of the four nominees were Canadian! But I had Aaron from the Zimmer Twins on one side and Patrick Crowe from Regenesis on the other (Zinc Roe Design and Xenophile respective companies) – and it was a surprise to all, that they both won! Yes a two-way tie and a table creaking later with the weight of two Emmys 😉 As one would expect both teams were delighted and it was wonderful both for Canada (and the Bell fund that partly helped Regenesis) but also for the interactive form as both services are innovative and pushing the envelope. But will write more later (congrats to Evan Jones and Tony Walsh also who were major parts of Regensis) – for now a picture I took of the double winners. A busy and even more exciting day tomorrow (well actually today now as I finish this).

© Gary Hayes 2007

Apr 052006

The conference presentations have from my perspective, been the usual mix of ‘heard-it-all-before’, occassional cool bit of a service demo, global convergence and very entertaining philosophical gazes into the future – emerging media.

The Internet and the future of TV plus The New Reality

Mark Burnett, Jonathan MillerThe last presentation I was at at the end of Tuesday, was the keynote from Mark Burnett and Jonathan Miller (CEO of AOL). The Esterel hall was jammed with around 900 people in a 800 seater I reckon. Jonathan gave an OK look at the future punctuated by a look at the success of Live8 and a sneek preview of In2TV (the latest archive on-demand offering). He came across as still immersed in technology (showing off the latest ‘q’ codec that showed DVD type quality live over the internet – rather than content or services and not as inspirational as Mark Burnett who followed.

Mark struck me as one of the lads down the local pub in the east end of London. Very practical, bit of a del-boy, all about reaching audiences through engaging stories that they care about, making money and getting to the audience wherever they are – peppered with his primary driver in all he does in terms of really integrating advertising and driving ad dollar. The most interesting aspect of his talk though was his cross-media approach and his delving into the broad area of alternate reality games. I asked him about that in the q&a session and he agreed that his new “Gold Rush” (see below) proposition is in that domain but also that producers need to really make stuff the viewer cares about otherwise they will turn away. Specifically when I asked about the differences between play (game/tv/reality combinations) and tightly scripted content he replied:

“It’s a free for all. It is not anyone or the other, its a bunch of different stuff, what the internet really stands for. Its like America, its a free market economy, a global free market economy, not a country anymore, its the internet. All things to all people, only those who will make it are those who will create content that you care about, that moves you”

The Gold Rush service to be released in Sept is a “massive undertaking” from Mark’s perspective when talking about the production tensions between his 1000 strong TV team with the AOL internet operation. Here is a transcript about the cross-over production from my audio notes:

” Goldrush which is an online treasure hunt created and produced solely for the internet. But to make it really work you still need to have the giant scale and razzamataz of the way you launch the big television special. So just to take it into story this is how gold rush starts. The sun is going down. Were at Fort Knox, the greatest bastion of where gold is stored in the USA. The music goes upbeat, a Jerry Brockheimer movie. Trucks start to leave Fort Knox, helicopters excort them, the military, police blocking off roads. 13 trucks are leaving Fort Knox as the sun is going down. Inside each of these trucks solid gold. 12 of these trucks contain $100 000 in gold and the 13th (they are not numbered) contains $1 million in solid gold. They head out under the cover of darkness to be buried in plain sight all over the continental united states. Here is a reality show that not just 16 people can play and win, everybody, and not only in America. The world can come and go to america online, decipher the clues that are very pop culture, and find out and dig up the gold. We are creating content that is in 3 minute to 5 minute segments on AOL. The content will be clues, the content will be when someone digs up the first set of gold, we will interview them and unravel how they worked the clues out. Also funny content a little old lady from Arkansas who is up in Wisconsin digging holes all over a national park, 3000 miles in the wrong direction. The guy from england who left his fiance, left his job, got on a plane to america, to find the gold in gold rush. The reality show that anybody can play and is created for AOL but we are not turning our back in this endeavour on mainstream TV networks or on publishing empires, we will use magazines and televison to support and work together to create cross-platform media. That is the latest thing I have been working on.”

He was very tight lipped when Ferhan (sat next to me) asked about how cross-media was going to be used to promote gold rush – hinting that it was going to be very viral and probably already begun – nuff said mate! The key thing in this presentation was that Mark came across as passionate about what he did. He wasn’t an interloper at these type of events – like many who shall remain nameless. His transmedia approach like many producers is simple – you deliver in the most entertaining way to where the people are, while keeping a strong eye on advertising dollar.

“We are not there making TV shows for pleasure, we are making TV shows so that the big networks and the giant portals can sell ads…” –

On demand tvhe later said that ad growth on TV networks will flatten and drop over the next year, so that leaves the portals as the next big thing then. I suspect Gold Rush may be the first global participatory TV event, although heavily borrowing from alternate reality games (this is ART, alternate reality tv, of course) it blends interactive tv, with gameshow, with puzzles, with reality tv, with location based programming. This will indeed break the mould finally – shame in retrospect it may all be about greed, but that and porn is how most break-throughs begin in media of course 😉

Further sessions I attended, conference blogs to follow when I get a few moments: Mobile video on demand, mobile Tv content showcase 1, internet tv comes of age, on-demand tv super panel, Gary Carter keynote and tv without frontiers. May do quick single paras of those to catch-up as there is some good 360 stuff on the way.
Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006

Mar 232006

Milia 2006Looking forward to treking over to Cannes next week via LA and UK. I remember when Milia was a short hop from home (London) now it is a heave to the other side of the planet but the seminar line-up alone (see extensive list below) makes it worth it alone.

MIPTV featuring MILIA is the world’s premier audiovisual & digital content market. It’s where the key decision-makers come to meet, talk and forge the business partnerships that will drive future growth on a global level. MIPTV and MILIA 2005
Participants 12,152
Companies 4,064
Countries represented 99
Exhibiting companies 1,510
Total exhibition space 18,357 m2

I remember the Milia’s of olde 96-02 – CD Roms, simple console games and very early crude interactive TV. Now there is a maturity to it, growing up alongside MIP and the focus on 360, cross-media and content makes it unique – the IBC‘s and NAB‘s still relegate mobile and broadband TV type services to side-halls and the other conferences tend to be a single platform at a time. Anyway here is the list which must make it the premier cross-media entertainment conference (industry perspective of course) – I have done this partly so I can refer to a simple running order in an emergency, as the ones on the site (MipTV feat Milia) are not so hot (one day at a time) – especially for an emerging media conference 😉


Digital Media Strategies Workshop
10.30 – 11.30 Part 1 11 – 45 – 12 – 45 Part 2
Date: Apr 03, 2006 10:30AM 12:45PM Location: Audi I, Level 4
Digital Distribution Showcase Keynote
Date: Apr 03, 2006 2:15PM 3:00PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
“TV Without Frontiers”: The Latest European Media Developments: Impact & Opportunities
Date: Apr 03, 2006 4:15PM 5:15PM Location: Audi A, Level 3
Whose TV Is It Anyway?
Date: Apr 03, 2006 5:30PM 6:15PM Location: Esterel, Level 5

On-Demand TV Super Panel: Evolution of Media Business Models, Threats & Opportunities
Date: April-04-2006 10:00AM 11:30AM Location: Esterel, Level 5
Mobile Video On-Demand: Turning Grey Time To Prime Time
Date: April-04-2006 11:45AM 12:45PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
On-Demand TV Showcases
Date: April-04-2006 1:30PM 2:30PM Location: Audi I, Level 4
Mobile TV Content Showcases Part 1 Music Video, Sport & Leisure
Date: April-04-2006 1:30PM 2:15PMLocation: Audi K, Level 4
Internet TV Comes Of Age
Date: April-04-2006 3:00PM 4:00PM Location: Audi A, Level 3
On-Demand Advertising In Your Palm & At Your Finger Tips
Date: April-04-2006 4:15PM 5:00PM Location: Audi A, Level 3
Keynote: “The Internet and the Future of Television”
Date: Apr 04, 2006 5:15PM 5:45PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
Keynote: “The New Reality: Entertainment Everywhere!”
Date: Apr 04, 2006 5:50PM 6:15PM Location: Esterel, Level 5


Convergence of Telecoms & Broadcasting: Who Will Be In Control ?
Date: April-05-2006 9:15AM 10:30AM Location: Esterel, Level 5
The Future of Rights Super Panel Are the Content Rights Owners Ready for the New Game?
Date: April-05-2006 11:30AM 12:30PM
Mobile TV Content Showcases, Part 2: Short films, Channels & User-Generated Content For Mobile
Date: April-05-2006 1:00PM 2:15PM Location: Audi K, Level 4
Mobile Broadcasting Live TV In Your Pocket, Part 1
Date: April-05-2006 2:30PM 3:30PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
Content 360: Cross-Platform Content Commissioning: BBC, KBC, NFB Pitching New Digital Ideas
Date: April-05-2006 2:30PM 3:30PM Location: Audi K, Level 4
IPTV Around The World : Deployment Strategies and Case Studies
Date: April-05-2006 2:30PM 3:45PMLocation: Audi A, Level 3
Live TV In Your Pocket, Part 2
Date: April-05-2006 3:45PM 5:00PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
Content 360° Pitching Session: BBC Cat.3 Long Tail Content: Navigating The BBC Archive
Date: April-05-2006 4:00PM 5:00PM Location: Audi K, Level 4
The IPTV Business Case: Is VOD The Killer App For IPTV?
Date: April-05-2006 4:00PM 5:00PMLocation: Audi A, Level 3
Keynote Content 360:” New Gateways to Creativity
Date: April-05-2006 5:15PM 6:15PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
International Interactive Emmy Awards
Date: April-05-2006 7.30PM 11.00PM Location Grand Salon Hotel Carlton


Mobi Wars! Mobile TV Business Models & Value Chain Evolution
Date: April-06-2006 10:00AM 11:15AM Location: Esterel, Level 5
Mobility & Content: Entertainment Everywhere !
Date: April-06-2006 11:30AM 12:45PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
Content 360° Pitching Session: National Film Board of Canada Animation Projects For Mobile Platforms
Date: April-06-2006 11:45AM 12:45PM Location: Audi A, Level 3
Content 360° Pitching Session: BBC Cat. 1:Rich Media – Made For Mobile
Date: April-06-2006 1:15PM 2:15PM Location: Audi A,
Content 360° Pitching Session: BBC Cat.4 Web 2.0: Next-Generation Collaborative Web Concepts
Date: April-06-2006 2:30PM 3:30PM Location: Audi A, Level 3
Interactive Mobile TV, The Next Frontier?
Date: April-06-2006 2:30PM 3:30PM Location: Esterel, Level 5
User Generated Content: The Next Big Thing in Media?
Date: April-06-2006 2:30PM 3:30PM
Content 360° Pitching Session : KBC Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), Mobile Content and Applications
Date: April-06-2006 4:00PM 5:00PM Location: Audi A, Level 3
Developing & Delivering Content Across Platforms, What Does It Take?
Date: April-06-2006 4:00PM 5:00PM
Mobile Content Distribution & Revenue Opportunities: Look To Asia & India
Date: April-06-2006 4:00PM 5:15PMLocation: Audi K, Level 4
Content 360° Pitching Session: BBC Cat.2:Total Mobile & User Generated Mobile Content
Date: April-06-2006 5:15PM 6:15PM
What Are The New Deals, And How Are They Shaking Up The Broadband Content Value Chain?
Date: April-06-2006 5:15PM 6:00PM
The Content 360° Zapping Show
Date: April-06-2006 7:00PM 8:00PMLocation: Esterel, Level 5


Mobile Entertainment Forum Workshop: How To Create, Deliver And Sell Video Content For Mobile
Date: April-07-2006 10:00AM 12:00PM
Rights & Financing Workshop: How To Navigate The Complex Digital Rights Maze & How To Fund Mobile TV & Cross Platform Content
Date: April-07-2006 9:30AM 11:30AM Location: Audi K, Level 4

Oh yes looking forward to walking the croissette and going to the Palais De Festival again but also to the black tie, first INTERNATIONAL INTERACTIVE EMMY® AWARDS on Wednesday evening – as I was a juror I will be shouting for my favourites 😉

International television and film star Dennis Haysbert (24, The Unit) will join renowned producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice), The Bold and The Beautiful’s Jack Wagner, French leading actress Corinne Touzet and RCTV (Venezuela) telenovela actors Veronica Schneider and Alejandro Otero to present the International Interactive Emmy® Awards on April 5, 2006. Desperate Housewives star Roger Bart will host the black-tie event.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005

Jan 072006

Nice to see that Bill Gates is still on the personalized TV bandwagon. After several years of keynotes talking about IPTV, the connected XBox and of course Microsoft’s own MediaCenter strategy it seems that Personalization, targeting and interactive television are now the new kids on ‘bills’ block at least. His keynote at CES a few days ago covers a broad range of topics but good to see him actually referring to ‘personalized video streams’ as discussed in some detail in this blog. So here is a selection of quotes

Personalized Media Themes and cross-media

So this cross-device approach is a very, very important approach. In fact, that’s complemented by the fact that there will be what we call Live services where a lot of your files, your information will actually be stored out in the Internet, and even if you pick somebody else’s device up, once you authenticate, all that information becomes available to you. So moving between different PCs can be a very, very easy thing.
There’s a lot of themes there, themes of personalization, themes of empowerment, themes of everything moving to the Internet. What is telephony moving to the Internet? That’s voice. What is TV moving to the Internet? That’s Internet TV or IPTV. People have to have confidence in these things, automatically backed up, security built-in, very reliable systems that use the cloud storage for those kinds of guarantees, and easy connections, connecting to people, connecting up to devices, a very strong way of driving through all these different scenarios and making them very simple.
In sum, it’s very revolutionary, but every year we have big milestones, more adoption, and it only really catches up to us in terms of how it’s changed the world of media, changed how the business models work there, changed the way that magazines and newspapers are delivered, changed the way that entertainment gets done, bringing these new interactive elements in; TV, where we’ve picked the new segments we want, we interact with a learning show, we can find the video that wouldn’t have been available in a broadcast system; all of that is becoming very, very mainstream.

Targeted and personalized advertising

Well, let’s now talk about TV. As I said, TV is, of course, a big activity and one that we see software really surprising people with what it can do. The best realization of this is when we have software working on your behalf, creating an individualized video feed to you, to the screen that you’re watching.
So what does that mean? That means that the ads can be targeted to you based on the things that you’re interested in, and so therefore far more relevant, far more impactful, something that you won’t want to skip over as much as one that wouldn’t mean anything to you. It means that as you get into a new show, the subjects you care a lot about, you can get more in depth information about those, the subjects you’re not interested in you can either easily skip over those or actually have it in advance understand that you don’t really care about some sports and you care a lot about others. You might have a ski resort you’d like to see the weather of every time you sit down for your nightly news that you’re seeing whenever you want and when you’re particularly rushed you just say that and it will condense things, just pick the highlights that are the most important there.
This platform will lead to creativity in doing shows of all types: learning shows, game shows, sport shows with extra information, multiple views.
It’s important to note that it completely blows open any of the limitations that channels used to create. We talk about tail video, things like a physics lecture or a high school sports game that never would have made it into that broadcast world now can be sourced in and if it’s something you’re interested in easy for you to navigate and find. And that’s one seamless experience, not your normal TV here and your Internet TV over there, taking that remote control and having that just work that way.
So interactivity, choice, personalization are all things that never were possible before we had this platform.

Van Toffler (Pres. MTV networks) on Personalizing Your Music

And today the pairing of MTV Networks and Microsoft takes us down another path of innovation, the digital expansion and migration of the musical experience. The seeds of many of our cultural revolutions have been born in the world of music, and the digital revolution has proven to be no different. Today, with URGE we’re bringing to market a unique approach to digital music, one focused on the emotional connection to music. URGE will offer a customized relationship with music, a sense of musical discovery, along with access to millions of songs from major labs and indies, an opportunity to listen to over a hundred radio stations, a chance to learn about the roots of songs and lyrics, plus interaction with hundreds of artists and access to their playlists of must-haves.
You can also take URGE and make it your own and personalize your own soundtrack and make it for any mood or event.
With URGE we’re undertaking a long journey with music fans, and this is just the beginning. Like our TV brand, URGE will be continually reinvented. It will be programmed for music fans by music fans. Subscribers will customize and drive this service, they will tell us what sucks and what they hate about the service, they will customize it, program it, share it, change it and move with it.

But back to Bill and the ubiquitous user journey that does not seem that different from ones I was doing at the BBC in 1997 in terms of ways of describing how users are or will be doing their life-things across a sea of devices and media. He refers to 2000-2010 as the Digital Lifestyle Decade and in his user journey (aimed primarily at business traveller types of course because that is world he and the CES audience can relate to) we are told yet again about location aware portable devices that will be able to connect to your centralized life-server, through the network and combine that with relevant local media…not too much reference to location specific media though, more about access and updating remotely, still there is always next year.

Later that day, I find myself in the airport, and all I’ve got with me on this particular trip is my phone. And yet I’m very interested I figuring out what’s the latest, what’s going on. And so I can take my phone here, and I just put it down on a table that’s here in the airport lounge, and it recognizes it. It’s got a little camera here, and a little Bluetooth, nothing very complicated with the magic of software behind it. And it says it wants me to authenticate that this is really me, my phone. So, as soon as I put my fingerprint there, I’m connected up, and I actually get a full-sized desktop. And so now, if I want to read mail, or browse, that’s all there. Actually, what I’m going to do is take a business card that somebody handed me while I was on this flight, and just put that down on the table there, and the camera scans that, detects it’s there, recognizes it, I’ll just flip that over, I’ve got a little note I made when I was talking with this person about some information they would like to see, and it sees that, gets that text, and then I can take that and say, OK, go ahead and put that into my contacts. So, as I drag it up there, I can see the information being connected up and put down into my phone. So, now I have a reminder of a task, send him that information, and see his picture, his name, his e-mail, it’s all been added to my contacts list there.

I will leave with one of BIll’s summary themes. Apart from the usual better software, high definition, interactivity he brings in personalization again

Another theme is that this all has to work across these devices, whether it’s calling people, seeing their presence, knowing what they’re interested in, making it easy for them to navigate; it’s got to be user centric, and that’s a big theme that’s going to make these things a lot simpler.

It is wonderful that Microsoft is finally going to make things simpler for us all. Read the full transcript here

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006

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