South African tech innovators chosen for BBC pilot

RLabs team
Image caption RLabs will develop a tool which allows you to play BBC audio clips

South African tech innovators have been selected to help the BBC reach young African audiences through digital platforms.

The young digital specialists from RLabs were chosen from 12 teams.

They had participated at a BBC "hackathon" event held in Cape Town in April looking at making BBC audio more accessible to young people.

Their digital widget which plays BBC audio clips will be funded to pilot and user test prototypes over six months.

During the BBC hackathon, teams presented ideas on new ways of delivering audio in a cost-efficient way to reach younger audiences.

RLabs will develop their CatchUp digital widget which can be placed on websites. By activating the widget, users can hear short clips of BBC audio content.

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RLabs team leader, 25-year-old Kurt Appolis, said his team's idea focuses on a piece of BBC content without distraction.

BBC World Service Group Digital Development Editor and judging panellist Dmitry Shishkin called the widget simple and elegant.

He said reaching out to the local tech scene was part of the BBC's commitment to Africa.

"It complements our renewed digital investment into covering Africa better," he said.

At a similar event in Nairobi in February two Kenyan teams were selected to develop their products. They both aim to connect with younger audiences, one by using local languages, while the other uses instant messaging apps.

More than half of African browsers currently come to using their mobile devices - a proportion that is expected to grow in the future.

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