BBC iPlayer - update on your feedback
I'm Daniel Danker; I joined the BBC as General Manager for Programmes and On Demand last month, and am responsible for delivering the BBC's online products - including BBC iPlayer.
This past weekend, I appeared on Points of View to respond to audience reactions to the latest version of BBC iPlayer, which launched in September. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit more about the thinking that went into the product, the research done by the team during development and testing, what we've learned since launch, and our next steps.
We set out to build this release with several goals:
To reduce the time it takes audiences to find programmes they want to watch
To make it easier to discover media in a huge and growing content library
To create a more personalized experience
We evaluate feedback in a number of ways, and a four-month live beta phase helped us bridge the gap between the way we thought you would use the product and how you actually used it in real life. As James Hewines discussed in his blog ahead of the launch, nearly 10% of you participated in the beta, providing a tremendous amount of feedback on how the product worked in the real world. This included your thoughts on the user interface and functionality, as well as reports of bugs for our engineers to resolve.
More streams, fewer clicks
As we iron out the post-launch issues, there's plenty of good news to share. Usage is up and radio consumption is growing particularly fast. Audiences are finding programmes with 20% fewer clicks than before, which is a really great result. The new personalisation features are also proving very popular.
with 14 million of you tagging 'favourite' programmes 14 million shows tagged as a 'favourite' programme in just one month. Audiences have selected a programme as a 'favourite' 3 million times in the first month.
You may have also seen the data in the BBC iPlayer performance pack for September, the first statistics since we launched the new look. BBC iPlayer had a total of 114 million programme plays for the month, but the real success story was the week-by-week increase. The last week in September saw 24 million programmes played across TV and radio - the most in a single week since May. The growth has continued in October, where each week has been stronger than the last.
While I'm really encouraged by these early figures, there were a number of places where we didn't get it quite right. Since our full-scale launch on September 6, we have received feedback in the form of blog posts, comments, and emails to our support and contact teams, all of which we review constantly. A weekly report is sent directly to our editorial and product teams to summarize the latest concerns. It's an incredibly useful feedback loop that helps us determine whether big product launches - as well as smaller changes and refinements - are pleasing audiences.
Despite the positives, there were three main things you didn't like:
1. Downloaded programmes disappearing when using iPlayer Desktop
2. Complaints about the loss of A-Z navigation to titles
3. Difficulty finding the last programme watched or listened to
We've heard your feedback, and are making changes in response. We've already reinstated the TV pop-out console; it can be activated using the icon found in the lower-right corner of the player. Next, to resume watching or listening to a programme from where you left off, open the "Favourites" drawer on the BBC iPlayer homepage. Finally, we're completing designs to bring back the A-Z feature.
We are working as quickly as possible to fix bugs that cause some downloaded programmes to disappear from iPlayer Desktop. On Friday, the team completed a patch release, which can be found on
the BBC iPlayer Help site Paul Clark's blog post here. To be sure we've truly solved the problem, we'll be testing the fix over the next couple of weeks. Any feedback you provide during this time will be particularly helpful.
I wanted to thank all of you for submitting your thoughts, and hope you'll continue to do so. Please continue to come back here for more updates from the team.
Daniel Danker is General Manager for Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media & Technology
Editor's note: Unfortunately the previous statistic of 14 million favourites in paragraph five above was reported in error. This has now been corrected. The correct figures are underlined. My apologies.