BBC celebrates 20 years of being online, here's how it's changed

The BBC started its online service 20 years ago this Sunday.

It first launched the BBC Networking Club on the World Wide Web on 13 April 1994, which was a not-for-profit subscription website offering early social networking and bulletin board features alongside information about the Beeb itself.

It then followed this up with individual websites for some of the corporation's programming, including Top Gear, Tomorrow's World and the World Service, before launching BBC Online with the website URL bbc.co.uk for the first time in 1997 -  the same address it uses today.

Since then, having dabbled with the BBCi branding along the way, bbc.co.uk has constantly been in the top five most visited websites in the country. The company has been majorly responsible for changing the way we watch catch-up content and television in general with iPlayer, and was one of the first to stream a radio show online, in 1995 with Radio 5 Live series, The Big Byte.

"The BBC was there at the beginning, helping to usher in a whole host of online technologies that are now ingrained in our everyday lives," said Ralph Rivera, director of BBC Future Media.

"The web certainly looked different back then but it has retained the same potential to change our lives for the better, and we continue to be at the forefront of this exciting industry. We’re continually looking at how we can use the technology of tomorrow to bring even better services to our audiences today, and help improve access to information and entertainment."

Throughout today, the corporation is hosting past BBC staff that were integral in getting the BBC online and tech industry luminaries, including Martha Lane Fox, with live tweets appearing on @AboutTheBBC on Twitter.



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