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Interesting Stuff 2009-12-05: BBC iPlayer round-up

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 13:30 UK time, Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Anthony Rose's indepth interview with CNet ("iPlayer uncovered: What powers the BBC's epic creation?") has excited some conversations.

Jack Shofield in the Guardian ("iPlayer uncovered")pulls out some of the numbers.

While in this comment on Jack's post omfgbunnies (that's a silly name - ed) draws our attention to this interesting fact:

Nothing is really achieved by direct download from the BBC - that would cost waaaay too much money, as proven by the total data usage. Instead, they set up peering agreements (free, http://support.bbc.co.uk/support/peering/) which allow them to, with a little discussion, put iPlayer CDN (content delivery) boxes in datacentres and even possibly ISPs space in telephone exchanges, for a low/free/reasonable cost

The CNet piece encourages Rupert Goodwins to speculate about "the true cost of the iplayer to the BBC".

And paidContent claims the iPlayer "eats TV for breakfast".

Last week it was roughly 500 days since the BBC iPlayer officially launched in December 2007. Here are the top ten programmes viewed on iPlayer since then*:

  • Top Gear Series 11
  • Top Gear Series 12
  • Doctor Who Series 4
  • The Apprentice Series 5
  • Live At The Apollo Series 4
  • Little Britain USA
  • Doctor Who Specials (Christmas 2005 - 2008 inc. & Easter 2009)
  • Gavin and Stacey Series 2
  • Merlin
  • Mistresses Series 2

* In terms of average requests to view per episode, and excluding one-off programmes; data covers period from launch until end of April.

And finally, showing that you can't please everyone, 'Baby Times' seems unhappy about the arrival of the Cbeebies channel on iPlayer:

All the shows I'm sure I'll learn to hate really quickly are all readily available and when the cries of "more more more" come, you can always watch another episode right away.

Nick Reynolds is editor, BBC Internet blog


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I posted too much by accident,however the message is here,where are the BBC Radio improvements?

  • Comment number 3.

    rangersman - please stop leaving long cut n pasted off topic comments on this blog. It disrupts the blog for other people. Use the preview button before you post.

  • Comment number 4.

    Are the iPlayer viewing stats available? If not, why not?

  • Comment number 5.

    One of the best round ups of what iPlayer is, by AR , and no mention by iPlayer staff on their own messageboards, indeed it was an interview on a third party site.

    So much for THIS belated blog Nick, not exactly cutting edge and on top of things, a few days late.
    But also a few weeks late if you were actually addressing the new iPlayer.

    A year late if we discuss the success users (I won't say LFPers) have had from this service since it's inception.

    WHY are the messageboards the last place to know, why are you, as a representative of the BBC, not embracing them (the messageboards)as part of your service to interact with YOUR public.
    Why are you fostering us on blogs and now twitter when you neglect or try to curtail what you already have?

    This treatment of the BBC messageboards should now be examined by a BBC Trustee, as it is obvious you have missed the role of an important interactive medium.

  • Comment number 6.

    When the most recent version of the iPlayer went live this blog had a long post from Anthony about it. We have been blogging about iPlayer ever since this blog was set up. There's a link to the iPlayer message board on the right hand nav. From time to time threads from the iPlayer message board have been featured on the blog (although we could possibly do a bit more of this).

  • Comment number 7.

    It might be interesting stuff, but is it really 5 months old? Or is it 11?


    btw who writes dates like that?

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry about mistake in the date. Have corrected.

  • Comment number 9.

    Still didn't answer the question Nick, why was there no link on the iPlayer boards by staff to any of this?

    If you want to use blogs as your communication medium, or third party internet sites, why don't you post in the messageboard service section, at the same time to at least bring people to the information, for example:-
    "We have posted a new blog on......" and a link.(You could have done that about this blog, it is most certainly relevant to the boards and service).
    "AR has had an informative article featured on......." and a link.
    That article alone answered many questions asked on the messageboards by iPlayer users, seriously why no mention?

    Is it too much to ask that the messageboards are kept informed and topical about things iPlayer by iPlayer's own staff?

    It's a board with a general discussion section, what's it there for, if you and other BBC staff, won't help promote that discussion?

    I'm having to post here asking about messageboards being utilised, not blogs, because the message boards are not being utilised.

  • Comment number 10.

    2009-12-06 is alright, but I think you meant 2009-12-05 Its May after all :)

    The title still has that in it.

    BTW Japan uses this excellent date form and is so much better than the American way.

    And in computer terms if used as a prefix for file names etc, makes for easy sorting :)

    I do agree with Emmerdale Farm Egg, that more technical comment on the Message Boards would be useful - maybe not the contetns of this Blog, but some technical responses to the various issues on a regular basis, would at least give the Board users a feeling that they/we aren't just posting to ourselves :)

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Nick, I know you've been a bit busy, but could you please answer my post 9 on this,your blog?

    I believe you are involved in Future Media and Technology within the BBC so would think iPlayer is exactly that, and could expect at least some answer from a member of staff somewhere? Maybe Mr Rose even?

    I have had the courtesy to come to your chosen platform, for an attempt at communicating, have I not?
    Just in case you or Mr. Rose would like to return the favour or need a reminder where the iPlayer boards are, here's a link.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hello EFF,

    I'm the iPlayer messageboard host and am supported by others on the team. We tend to keep Service Updates limited to important service announcements. We also update Twitter http://twitter.com/BBCiPlayer

    We link on the boards as much as possible where relevant but other users are also doing a good job updating and posting links.


  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks Jonathan, I think I know who you are :), I've only been a regular poster over on your boards a few years.
    I'm one of the people updating and posting the links.
    Your Service Updates section needs a good clear out btw.

    Still does not explain why when releasing blogs and articles your staff can't pop onto the boards and make a post telling us.

    BTW there's no mention of twitter by any staff over on the iPlayer boards either.
    I didn't know you were using it to talk about iPlayer.

    Seems to confirm what I was saying, staff are prepared to talk and link everywhere except from the boards.

  • Comment number 14.

    Cheers the Service Update section is now looking suitably sring cleaned :)


  • Comment number 15.

    Ok who stole my "r" ?

  • Comment number 16.

    Or can we have a "p" please Bob.
    Actually that might make a good change from old steel knickers Anne Robinson.

  • Comment number 17.

    Might be a good idea to change the title of this post, "2009-12-05" implies 5 December 2009.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thanks for the basic top 10 of iPlayer progs. Is there any more detailed info available (ie actual number of views for, say, the top 100 progs)?


  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.


    post 20 is your serial spammer back again. How come no one picks up his repeat spamming all over your blogs?

    Pity the deleting of our innocuous posts is relatively attentive.


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