New BBC iPlayer: comments round up

Tuesday 3 June 2014, 10:56

Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds Editor Internet blog

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This blog has published five posts about the new BBC iPlayer since Dan Taylor's post about the launch and feedback from the preview three weeks ago.

There have been lots of comments from you and responses from Dan and the BBC iPlayer team. Comments can be a little hard to find so I though it would be useful to gather some of the key points together.

You can find Dan's comments on his post here, here and here. In this comment he outlines some of the independent research done before launch:

"Averaged across all of these criteria, 5% of respondents said they felt the new BBC iPlayer was worse than the old BBC iPlayer, 58% felt it was better, 33% felt it was the same and 5% said they didn't know."

newiplayer_feedback_wordcloud.jpg A word cloud of feedback on the new iPlayer from the independent user research

Marcus Parnwell in his post about the new BBC iPlayer on TVs responded to people who are unhappy that radio is no longer available:

"The data we used for making this decision was entirely usage based. We have been monitoring the number of plays for radio on demand content on a monthly basis for the last 6 months. In terms of figures, taking the month of April 2014, we saw that radio usage on TVs made up 1% of the total radio usage across devices. Similarly, when compared to all audio and video usage on TVs, that figure drops below 1%. I understand this does not give any comfort but this decision was not taken lightly..."

Andrew Scott (General Manager, BBC iPlayer Radio) also commented:

"...we are currently evaluating how best to bring Radio to connected TV devices in a way that will be more widely used, probably as a combination of an application on the TV itself (which is a fairly expensive business when you take into account the testing across different TV manufacturers and models) and devices like Google Chromecast integrated with the iPlayer Radio mobile application in a similar way to how we integrated support for Apple Airplay.

We've read all of your comments here and I'd be really interested to hear more of your thoughts on this – please email"

The new BBC iPlayer came to Windows Phone 8 last week. Navin Nair commented on his post:

"We are currently in the process of consolidating the number of separate iPlayer codebases we develop and maintain in order to provide the best value for money from our fixed funding. For example, prior to the launch of the new iPlayer, we were maintaining 3 separate codebases for computer browsers, tablet browsers and mobile browsers – we now have a single responsive codebase that serves all browsers. Similarly, in the TV domain, we are consolidating around a single HTML codebase. In the mobile apps domain, we have 2 codebases – one for Android devices, one for iOS devices. The market share of Windows Phone 8 doesn’t yet justify the cost of a developing and maintaining a full native app (as @DBOne mentions this isn’t just about current share of handset sales). We have however, been able to update the previous Windows Phone 8 wrapper app..."

You can still give feedback on the new BBC iPlayer in this survey, and the BBC iplayer Radio feedback page.

Nick Reynolds is Editor, BBC Internet blog

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    It all goes to prove the original 2010 decision to separate radio from TV in iPlayer was fundamentally unsound. The resulting train crash was inevitable, and the cleanup is proving to be expensive or beyond the BBC's reach.


  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I'm not sure if this is anything to do with the new iPlayer as such, but lately I've been finding quite a few programmes not available in HD, despite being billed as HD in Radio Times. Three examples from the last week:

    Clydebuilt, part 1 - Thu 29 May, BBC4
    The Story of Science, part 1 - Sat 31 May, BBC4
    Dylan Thomas: A Poet's Guide - Sun 1 Jun, BBC4

    I contacted an independent production company about this a couple of months ago, and the producer of the programme concerned replied promptly to say he'd spoken to the BBC and there had been "an error in the iPlayer system". Indeed, subsequent programmes in the series were available in HD.

    I haven't reported any instances directly to the BBC, I'm afraid, because I get disheartened going through the first few steps of the reporting process on the iPlayer site. There used to be a category of complaint labelled simply "HD not available", but that's no longer available. In fact, looking now, I can't even find a link to report a problem of any kind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Aside from my (entirely negative) feelings about the new iPlayer over all platforms, I personally despise the number of blogs that have been initiated for the same product. As @2 points out, it is already difficult to report problems, let alone finding the blogs and registering. We now have 9 (? I've really lost count) blogs trying to justify the same thing.

    Dispersing the negative feedback and 'cooking the books' (You keep throwing the 5% and the 1% at us out of context as was pointed out by Russ on a previous blog) may work for a while, but in the long run people will have no choice but to exercise their franchise and just switch off. Is all this justification REALLY worth it?

    Why don't you respond to what we are saying instead of just regurgitating the same rubbish?

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    I was sent a link to this blog when I complained that the new, separate BBCiPlayer radio app is "incompatible with my device" and, when I tried to get round this by just going to the BBCiPlayer Radio website with my phone and playing radio from there, it cuts out after 3 seconds - the play box just goes blank. I used to be able to play iPlayer radio programmes with my phone and now I can't. It doesn't work now. It used to work, and now it doesn't. And the explanation I've received is to be told to read this article about how BBCiPlayer Radio is now separate because no-one listens to the radio on it. Thanks. That's really helped. Can you just fix the radio, now, please, and stop looking so incompetent? Unbelievable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I totally agree with the comments here, the new radio iPlayer app is ridiculous, it takes twice as long to find anything if it isn't actually playing. On the iPad the favourites does not display programmes in chronological order but some random selection. Whoever commisioned this piece of software did not understand the way the listener uses these devices.


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