BBC iplayer goes from strength to strength

bbc iplayer From Personal Computer World 07/02/08:

The BBC's iPlayer service continues to prove extremely popular with UK viewers, according to media analyst Screen Digest.

A surge in iPlayer use has prompted Screen Digest to improve its forecasts for free-to-view (FTV) consumption in the UK to better reflect the emerging importance of the model in driving web TV services.

The first is the BBC's decision to migrate the iPlayer's focus away from a proprietary application download environment to an open access web streaming model which coincided with a significant rise in online viewers.

Screen Digest believes that the application-based strategies pursued by some UK broadcasters puts up an unnecessary barrier to initial consumer adoption, thereby hampering growth.

Secondly, moving to a Flash-based streaming platform offering full seven-day catch-up has been a critical move by the BBC, as it allows non-Windows users to access programming as well.

In many ways, I haven’t been surprised to see the iplayer take off in the way it has. Since its launch, I’ve been a big fan of the service and am finding it increasingly convenient. Rather than worry about setting the DVD recorder for certain BBC 1 shows that we’d ordinarily miss, we just watch them back on iplayer at a time when it’s convenient. I just wish ITV would really get their act together and produce a service with functionality that rivals iplayer. Their current offering remains a long way off that, believe me. Equally, I wish that all BBC2 content was available readily on iplayer as well as that originating from BBC1.

And for me, the definitive hater of bulky and resource-hogging software produced by all and sundry these days, I’m loving the fact there’s no ‘player’ to download; users on any platform can watch a streamed version that works wonderfully. For those who want longer term access, Windows users can download programmes for 30 days before expiration. Put together, these features add yet further elements of viewing convenience to iplayer which, at the end of the day, is what this sort of service is all about.

Highly recommended.

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