BBC iPlayer


Our ambition for BBC iPlayer, Red Button and Programme Websites is to drive maximum impact across the full range of our programmes and channels, ensuring they are the most discoverable, supported and engaging they can be for all audiences in a world where media is ‘always on’. We also want to use these platforms to drive creativity and innovate in new forms of high quality and ambitious content that delight and surprise our audience. A recent blog post further outlines the key areas of innovation.

We commission a small number of iPlayer exclusive pieces across the year - the slate is small compared to TV and the focus around innovation is very defined.  Where we are looking to work with specific Writers, Directors or personalities we will first approach the talent or their agents about these opportunities and take things from there.


BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is one of the UK’s most popular brands and has a weekly reach of 13 million requests, which is equivalent to approximately 10 million people. iPlayer is opening up a host of new ways and occasions for audiences to discover, watch and share our content, given its availability across over 1,200 devices and four screens (TV, PC, mobile and tablet).

Today, 42% of those who come to the service do so without any specific programme in mind to watch (up from 25% in 2008). To meet our audiences’ increasing expectation to browse and discover the new and the different, we’re evolving BBC iPlayer’s promise from ‘catch up TV’ to an ‘entertainment destination’ in its own right - a primary entry point into the BBC’s televisual offer. 

We relaunched BBC iPlayer this year, giving it a new design to better showcase our live TV channels and on demand programmes, and also prepare the way for offering more exclusive iPlayer content that celebrates the very best in British creativity across all our genres. 

We’re already featuring a range of ambitious and imaginative exclusive content on iPlayer. This includes content showcasing new talent such as Comedy Feeds and Original Drama Shorts for BBC Three. 

In the iPlayer context, the rules of fixed programme durations and linear slots fall away, opening up exciting opportunities for new forms of storytelling. Our Original Comedy Shorts, and exclusive episodes for Sherlock and Doctor Who are great examples of how established Writers and Performers are seizing this opportunity to create original work. 

BBC iPlayer also enables us to create themed content Collections. A single Collection can comprise a number of different films, of varying length, each providing a distinctive lens on an event or subject. This presents us with new opportunities for how we bring festivals and events to life across the calendar year, ranging from the Chelsea Flower Show to Notting Hill Carnival. 

For more on new BBC iPlayer, read Victoria's blog post: New iPlayer - Celebrating the Best of British Creativity


BBC Red Button and BBC Connected Red Button

Our traditional Red Button service attracts 17 million viewers a week. Television’s Red Button content includes additional coverage around events like the Chelsea Flower Show or T in The Park, play-along quizzes for Antiques Roadshow and Lottery shows like In It To Win It and live streaming around Factual programmes including AutumnwatchSpringwatch and Winterwatch

Red Button content is incredibly popular with audiences given it’s easy to access and either elegantly enhances the programme being watched or, post the programme, delivers on audience needs, interests and passions inspired during the course of the show.

In November 2012, we launched BBC Connected Red Button on Virgin TiVo. This is the first glimpse of how we’re seamlessly bringing together our broadcast and online portfolio for audiences, offering a much deeper, richer, BBC Television experience than ever before.

Find out more about Red Button delivery.


Programme websites

Every BBC television programme we transmit is supported by a BBC programme website which is accessible to audiences across mobile, tablet and PC. Programme websites are the permanent presence for the programme and central to building our programme archive for the future. They include key information for audiences such as transmission times, episode synopses, clips, cast and crew credits, photo galleries, music track-lists and a range of links including where to buy the programme online once it’s no longer available on BBC iPlayer. Today, programme websites have a weekly reach of 2.5 million requests.

Beyond providing highly valued information, programme websites also support tools and functionality such as share and vote tools, Twitter integration and live blogging which offer new ways for audiences to participate, share and comment on BBC output. Audiences are increasingly looking at our programme websites while they’re watching the show and our ambition is to make this experience easier and more compelling by presenting programme website content synchronously on a second device (be that a mobile, PC, tablet or even the TV screen).  Read more about the BBC’s companion screen strategy.  


Social media

We want to create a more participatory BBC and social media is critical to facilitating our direct relationship with audiences. In television, we want to draw on social platforms to introduce and connect people to the TV content that matters to them, fuelling their passions and interests and rewarding their participation. We also want to draw on social media to drive discovery of the full range of our content, to create compelling Entertainment and Learning journeys for our audience. 

BBC Television’s social media offering comprises social media accounts for BBC One, Two, Three and BBC iPlayer, accounts for our flagship Drama and Entertainment series like EastEndersDoctor WhoStrictly Come Dancing and The Voice and genre accounts such as BBC Nature and BBC Food. 

We want to ensure we prioritise our social resource in ways that drive maximum audience impact and engagement and that our approach to social activity is consistent across public service and commercial availability of content. Find out more about how the BBC commissions social media for Television programmes


Find out more about TV content online.

Latest iPlayer news