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BBC iPlayer October Performance

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Dave Price Dave Price | 09:18 UK time, Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I’m Dave Price the head of BBC iPlayer and we’ve just published our monthly iPlayer performance pack for October.

We thought the Olympics was the highlight of the year but I’m delighted to tell you that we have broken the 200-million-requests-per-month mark, with 213 million requests for TV and radio programmes last month across all platforms.

This is an increase of +20% year-on-year boosted as usual by the great new autumn TV schedule delivering fantastic stats for iPlayer.

Choosing programmes by genre on BBC iPlayer

October trends

As we also saw during the Olympics, the way people are watching iPlayer on multiple different platforms and devices is changing.

Although PCs are still the most popular platform for watching BBC iPlayer programmes, accounting for around half of requests in October, we saw another significant rise in usage through internet-connected TVs (+25% on September) together with a continuing upward trend for watching BBC iPlayer on mobiles and tablets.

In October 43 million programmes were requested via TV platforms (this includes smart TVs, operator platforms and games consoles) - 20% of all requests - while mobile phones and tablets recorded 28 million and 21 million requests, with year-on-year increases of +168% and +236% respectively, and together now delivering 23% of all requests.

This shows the extent to which internet-connected devices are really starting to penetrate the market and the fact that BBC iPlayer is available on a large range of mobiles and tablets out there.

How this fits with our strategy

One of our key goals for iPlayer in 2012 was to take it beyond the PC and onto a host of different devices, from mobile smartphones and tablets to smart TVs and games consoles.

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to watch and catch up on programmes whenever you want, wherever you want to.

We’re now on over 650 devices and these growth figures really show this strategy is delivering for audiences, making favourite BBC programmes available at a time that suits you.

Last month we launched iPlayer on Sky+ which was a key milestone for us as it means audiences on all major UK TV platforms can watch, listen and catch-up on the best BBC programmes in their living room, whenever and wherever they want.

And earlier this year we launched BBC iPlayer on Xbox - meaning we’re now on all major UK games consoles.

Looking to the future

We see internet-connected TVs as the platform of the future.

It’s no big surprise that when at home, audiences like to watch TV on the best screen in the house - the TV. And it’s not just us thinking this.

YouGov recently published the latest wave of its ‘Smart TV’ study which found that the proportion of people who are looking to buy a smart TV is on the rise.

Behind live TV viewing, catch-up TV services like iPlayer are the second most popular activity for smart TV owners, used by a majority of people with these new devices.

Marketing campaign

So, with this in mind we wanted to let our audiences know that this is exactly what they can do. That’s why we’ve just launched our new BBC iPlayer TV advert - ‘Telly on your Telly’ - talking about just that - watching TV on your TV.

Click here to see the advert for yourself and as always, really keen to hear what you think of it.

Dave Price is the Head of BBC iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media.


  • Comment number 1.

    Are there any performance figures that show the impact of ongoing problems regarding iPlayer on Chrome browsers and the bizarrely unhelpful latest version of Adobe Air?

    These issues go back to September but are still not addressed.

  • Comment number 2.

    Any chance we can have an update on the shockingly inept Iplayer app for Android phone/tablets, specifically the Nexus 7?

  • Comment number 3.

    Will iPlayer be available on WiiU on Friday?

  • Comment number 4.

    Two words: Android Failure.

    Very poor show from the beeb. Why do you only want to please the crApple crowd on their mePhones?

  • Comment number 5.

    Very impressed with the service via Sky. It's so good to have broadcast quality HD compared to the 'lite' version through the web/smart TV/YouView/.

    Is there a reason, however, that some programmes like Masterchef are never available in HD, and others like The Hour and Crickley Hall take a few days to appear in HD?

  • Comment number 6.

    You need to make clear that Smart TV is a 'covers a multitude of sins'' than just a TV set with a ethernet socket.

    I watch iPlayer on a cheap Chinese web enabled Freeview box on a projector via HTML

    I am shortly moving to driving the projector from a Blue Ray ray box.

    I notice that people who want full HDTV quality from the Beeb apparently have to pay £19 pm extra to Sky.

  • Comment number 7.

    "We see internet-connected TVs as the platform of the future."

    Definitely agree. It's the way forward for on demand services.

  • Comment number 8.

    The real issue with iPlayer is that it is a shockingly mixed bag with regard to platform performance. We have no less than 7 different ways of accessing iPlayer in our home:

    On the TV:
    A DigitalStream media box. Rather good with HD content.
    Nintendo Wii. Good. Really nice interface, but, obviously, SD only.
    A Samsung Freesat+ box. Poor. Sound never in synch with picture.

    A Window Laptop and Linux desktop (both fair performance)
    An Asus Nexus 7 tablet and HTC Sensation smartphone. Shockingly poor. Almost unusable. Video is pixelated, sound goes out of synch and the app usually crashes if the programme is over 1/2 hour long.

    You have to ask why the BBC is using resources implementing new iPlayer clients when some of the current implementations are so very poor. Wouldn't it be wiser is fix what is broken first?

    Incidentally, I see the Android iPlayer has now hit an all time low rating of 2.9/5 on Google Play, and its still going down with most reviewers giving it one star and saying the most uncomplimentary things about it.

  • Comment number 9.

    @8 'You have to ask why the BBC is using resources implementing new iPlayer clients when some of the current implementations are so very poor. Wouldn't it be wiser is fix what is broken first?'

    Because they got a significant cost saving from SKY by developing iPlayer for Sky:


  • Comment number 10.

    It's amazing that mobile/tablet access is on the increase when the mobile version of iPlayer is so fundamentally broken. If you access the iPlayer website on a tablet you have no way to override the detection/redirection that happens, even though most tablets these days can quite happily handle the full desktop version. This wouldn't be so bad if it were not for the fact that the mobile search is very patchy, as it doesn't always show the original broadcast date, which can make it very hard to work out which order various episodes are in. For instance, search for Young Apprentice on the desktop site and you can instantly see which order they're in. Do likewise on the mobile site, and your guess is as good as anyone's.

  • Comment number 11.

    As a public funded service the BBC really needs to work harder at making their services available to more licence payers on mobile.

    You support iPhone (even though it isn't the No.1 platform in the UK), the Android the experience is poor and you need to work at making it available to BlackBerry and Windows as well.

    When you support those 4 you'll be doing your job of serving the nation properly!

  • Comment number 12.

    Good job BBC, light years ahead of any other service out their from any other broadcaster.

  • Comment number 13.

    @9 DBOne:

    So, the BBC pay Sky to allow Sky to show BBC content? Sounds back-to-front to me. Surely the inclusion of BBC channels on Sky is of great benefit to Sky. I would have thought that Sky should be paying the BBC to be allowed to show its content.

    I mean, would you think Sky would be more, or less, attractive if there were no BBC channels on it? I'd say less, and in a big way.

    And now the BBC have negotiated a reduction in this back-to-front fee by, essentially, doing Sky a favour to the detriment of non-Sky iPlayer users? The whole thing sounds distinctly dodgy, to me.

  • Comment number 14.

    @13 Yes Sky charge the BBC carriage costs, so the BBC pay them. For a discussion on why see here https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/oct/19/sky-bbc-free-ride

    Surely a reduction in the payment is of benefit to all license fee payers as there is more money for investment in programmes or iPlayer clients.....

  • Comment number 15.

    @14 DBOne

    "Surely a reduction in the payment is of benefit to all license fee payers as there is more money for investment in programmes or iPlayer clients....."

    Indeed. and it could be reduced to zero.

    Why is the BBC paying to support Pay TV? Give Sky a choice. Carry BBC channels for nothing or not at all. If Sky want the BBC channels, and I think they will as they add a great deal of value to the Sky platform, then they will agree. If they don't agree then pull the BBC channels from Sky.

    Tough luck for Sky subscribers, but I don't see why I should be paying for Sky through the back door of the TV licence. You can "get" why commercial channel would be willing to pay to be on Sky as it gives a wider audience for the advertisements that fund them, but the BBC gets its fee regardless, so gains no benefit from being on Sky.

    The Guruniad article is very biased towards Sky's point of view by the dint of its author, but the core question is, "Are the BBC channels more valuable to Sky, than Sky is to the BBC". I think the answer is a resounding "YES".

    Ironic, isn't it. If I wanted to distribute BBC content I would have to pay a huge fee, while Sky actually gets paid a fortune for doing the same.

  • Comment number 16.

    @15 Eponymous Cowherd

    Sky subscribers pay the licence fee too!! It's not them and us. The BBC pay to be on Freesat and Freeview as well as Sky.

  • Comment number 17.

    I sent an email to iplayer support on Sunday asking why the Android iPlayer/media player apps are still not available to people in the Channel Islands, so far no response. The apps simply don't show up in the store as presumably they are being restricted to UK only and failing to include the Channel Islands. I have also mentioned it in blog comments months ago and someone did say they would look into it but nothing seems to have happened.

  • Comment number 18.

    Sky should either offer the channels for free or pull the BBC channels, Most people have free-view too so no-one will miss out.

  • Comment number 19.

    It's about time iplayer was available on Nexus 10. Android users are fed up with the BBC having a comercial bias to supporting Apple products.

  • Comment number 20.

    When will the BBC develop a player for Android devices that works properly? And when will downloads be available for Android users?

    I appreciate that there are complications with the Android platform, but what's less understandable is the BBC's failure to communicate any information to the millions of Android users (who, let's not forget, substantially outnumber IoS users).

    So how about a blog post with an indication of how long Android users will need to wait for a usable player and for downloads? A month? Six months? A year? It would be nice to know.

  • Comment number 21.

    @Kit Green 

    iPlayer usage on PCs has continued to grow since September, however, I acknowledge this is not what you want to hear.  We were equally frustrated by the iPlayer Desktop problems caused by the Adobe Air v3.5 upgrade.  A couple of weeks ago we put in place a server side solution to workaround the problems on v3.5, and for the vast majority of audiences this appears to have addressed issues.  However, some users have unfortunately lost access to previous downloads and have found it necessary to reinstall iPlayer Desktop. The issues are further compounded with audiences unable to install iPlayer Desktop in recent Chrome browser versions.  We are working with Adobe (as are many other organisations – see https://forums.adobe.com/message/4613259%29 to understand and resolve the issues. Further information can be found on our help pages, for example:

    @Malcolm Parsons
    BBC iPlayer is already on our 650 devices including the Wii, PS3 and Xbox, which are all proving very popular.  My team are continually looking at extending the reach of iPlayer onto new devices.

    Thanks for the feedback.  Search is a key element of BBC iPlayer service across devices, and this is something we are certainly looking to improve in the future.
    With regards to the Android comments...

    Android is a platform we take very seriously, the Android smartphone and tablet growth present massive opportunities for the BBC to reach new audiences.  We have a significant team working on Android, this team are focused on improving the quality of video and audio playback.  These improvement won't come in a single release but a series of incremental changes over the next few months (starting before Christmas).  Chris Yanda will be outlining further details via the BBC Internet Blog shortly, and we will continue to keep you posted on progress.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'd love to watch iPlayer on the big screen TV I bought, along with a PVR, for the recent digital changeover, but at 70 I'm not going to buy more (unless very cheap) hardware. It's two rooms away from my PC and router, I don't have a laptop or Xbox. I don't know whether I can get iPlayer on my (PAYG) mobile - you can guess it's not the most high-tec - but I assume that watching this way would cost me. Am I stuck with my monitor for the foreseeable future?

  • Comment number 23.

    iPlayer has stopped working after auto upgrade to 4.2.1 on my Nexus 10. OK previously when running 4.1.1.
    Is this problem being addressed


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