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BBC iPlayer on Virgin: 100 Million Views

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Rahul Chakkara Rahul Chakkara | 18:42 UK time, Friday, 13 February 2009

In April 2008, we launched the first phase of TV iPlayer on Virgin.

Then, I blogged about how getting BBC's on demand content into the living room and onto the television was a big deal. It seems, our audience agree. Since June 2008, when we went live with the final phase of TV iPlayer, we have had more than 100 million programme views.

I had high expectations but even so, this is a staggering result.

Gideon Summerfield, product manager for TV iPlayer, is going to give more details next week.

Virgin was the first platform because of the size of the addressable audience (3.4 million households). Since then, we have been working at making BBC iPlayer available on other platforms and devices. Our challenge is to maximise reach this emerging market whilst maintaining a familiar and trusted BBC iPlayer service and remaining cost-effective.

I'll keep you posted on our future plans.

Rahul Chakkara is Controller, TV Platforms, BBC Future Media & Technology


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Rahul

    A great success indeed!

    I have a brief query on the content between iplayer on the internet and through virgin's set-top box. Should the 2 be identical?

    I have noted on some occasions that while a "watch again" programme is available on the net, it does not appear through virgin?


  • Comment number 2.

    i tried this once. it was so slow as to be unuseable. is that the set top box. same cable connection as use for internet.

  • Comment number 3.

    This is great and is a sign of things to come. TV will almost entirely be VoD.

    How long before it is available on Sky? If it is delivered via satellite, does it give you more/less bandwidth?

  • Comment number 4.

    To ChevaanSeres (3),

    I believe it currently isn't possible to have the iplayer (or anything similar) on SKY because in order to do it there needs to be some two-way communication and satellite is obviously only one way if you understand me. I think the only way it could be done would be to stream every programme individually as if they all had their own channel which obviously there isn't enough room for. That is the reason why SKY's anytime service is via their website rather than through the TV.

    In regards to the 100 million views that is a great figure and a very positive sign. Both the BBC and Virgin have been great at promoting and developing this new way to watch TV (obviously Virgin is for commercial reasons) and I hope you keep up the good work.

    However, as has already been mentioned, the iPlayer is not completely the same on all platforms, for example, the SIx Nations is available online but not via Virgin, presumably this is due to broadcast rights etc.. I hope you are trying as much as possible to make it equal though.

    Also, it is currently unreliable through Virgin and the service is often not available at all. I expect this is a problem with Virgin rather than you as it is the same for all on demand content. Do you have any influence or input over improvements to their network? I expect that if you could help them to sort out these problems then it will be even more than 100 million progammes being viewed..

  • Comment number 5.

    "I have a brief query on the content between iplayer on the internet and through virgin's set-top box. Should the 2 be identical?"

    Some stuff isn't on there for rights reasons, like sport and Heroes.

    Some people on the Digital Spy boards have also said that Virgin have capacity issues on their VOD service, and there isn't quite enough room for everything on there anyway at the moment.


  • Comment number 6.

    Great news ! And what's the next step? Can folks living outside Britain expect something? Would beebs consider getting iPlayer straight into (connected) TVs ..and sort of become THE new teletext (sorry, MHEG was a distraction). I know this is a long shot, but is BBC considering something like this..for, let's say the post-depression future ?

  • Comment number 7.

    Any chance of getting it on the Xbox 360 any time soon?

  • Comment number 8.

    I use this service all the time and find it excellent, save recording programmes you have missed can watch then whenever you want so i am not surprised it is such a big hit.

  • Comment number 9.

    >>Gideon Summerfield, product manager for TV iPlayer, is going to give more details next week.

    That's a week past now, was there some information from Gideon?

  • Comment number 10.

    StephenD - I'm afraid it won't be possible to share more data, but I am hoping for that Rahul may be able to respond with a follow up post or comment.



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