Mobile Downloads for BBC iPlayer

Executive Producer

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Today BBC iPlayer is launching mobile downloads on smartphones and tablets.

I'd like to talk about the thinking behind this new feature, and the benefits it brings to audiences.

Part of the BBC's strategy for iPlayer in the past year has been to take it beyond the PC, and onto a host of different devices, from smartphones and tablets, to connected TVs and games consoles. BBC iPlayer is now on over 550 devices, ensuring you can enjoy BBC programmes wherever and whenever you want.

It's been something of a watershed year for on-the-go viewing: the Olympics, for example, turned into the "mobile Games" for many. For iPlayer, take-up on portable devices has been particularly impressive, with 30m requests for iPlayer content via mobile or tablet in July alone: this represented more than 20% of all requests for iPlayer programmes across all platforms.

The numbers in pink and white in the circles above represent percentages of the total amount of iPlayer requests for content on tablets and mobile e.g 34% of the requests on tablets was for Children's content

More and more people are comfortable with watching TV across different devices depending on where they are and what they're doing. For example, our data shows that children's content is particularly popular on tablets, as they are devices kids can sit and play with wherever. BBC Three comedy is popular on smart phones, and is watched by young people while out and about or waiting for a bus or train.

There is, of course, a barrier to you watching your favourite BBC programmes wherever you want: you need to be online to stream video to your phone or tablet, which means you can't use BBC iPlayer on the tube or on a plane.

Today, that barrier is lifted. With the launch of mobile downloads for iPlayer, on-the-go viewing is transformed. For the first time, you can watch BBC programmes on your phone or tablet even if you don't have a Wi-Fi connection or 3G signal. You can download multiple programmes to your device and store them for 30 days. Once you've pressed play you can keep watching for seven more days. Why not take your favourite shows with you when you go on holiday? You could watch them on the plane, on the beach, anywhere you want.

The new mobile downloads feature is initially available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices running iOS 5.1. We will be bringing this feature to Android phones and tablets soon, and are looking at making downloads available on other devices in the future.

A mock up of how BBC iPlayer programmes look while downloading on an iPhone

Here is how you download your favourite TV show:

• Tap the Download option on the programme you want to save

• The programme will be added to your download queue

• When you next connect to Wi-Fi, open the app and the programme will automatically start downloading to your device

A download of Eastenders on an iPad

For those with kids who love watching Justin's House, a CBeebies favourite, they will now be able to enjoy Justin and his friends on a tablet or phone in the back of the car without the need for a 3G signal. And, people with smartphones can continue to enjoy the new series of Dr Who on the train or tube, without worrying about connections or data allowances - another benefit of downloading shows over Wi-Fi and watching them offline.

Today's launch is another big step towards ensuring BBC iPlayer and BBC programmes are available wherever and whenever you want. Download the app now and let me know in the comments what you've been watching and where.

The team would really welcome your comments and feedback on the downloads feature. When we Tweet about iPlayer we use a #bbciplayer hashtag, so if you would like to use this too that would be great.

I am always keen to know what you think and would love to hear from you.

David Madden is Executive Producer, TV & iPlayer Mobile, BBC Future Media

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