BBC says iPlayer’s future lies in mobile devices

by Tiffany Millar on February 15, 2011

Since the iPlayer arrived on the iPad and smartphones there has been a boom in the use of the mobile service. Also, the arrival of Daniel Danker at the BBC last Spetember, the iPlayer has enjoyed four months of record-breaking viewing -  adding almost 50m new catch-up requests in that time.

However, the man from Microsoft can’t take all the credit – a major advertising campaign for the online video player coincided with Danker’s arrival – but with new apps for Apple’s iPad and Android smartphones released last week, the rise of the iPlayer is showing no signs of stopping.

More than 162m requests were made for iPlayer programmes last month, a 12% increase on December and a 35% jump on January 2010. Just over 100m of these requests were made online – but for Danker, the future is mobile who says the ratio of growth in mobile viewing is incredible.

Prior to last week’s release of iPad and Android apps – 54,511 of the iPad apps were downloaded in the first 24 hours – mobile viewing accounted for 5% of all iPlayer streaming, up from 1% in January 2010.

Danker admitted he wasn’t a betting man but that if he was, he would bet that the phenomenon will continue to grow. He said that the people are viewing TV is going to change dramatically by the end of the year.

The iPlayer – which has been around for three years – is credited with popularising catch-up TV in the UK. The iPlayer’s availablity on other platforms – including Virgin Media’s set-top box, and the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii gaming consoles – have increased its demand.

But the release of new iPlayer apps tailor-made for the iPad and high-end Android handsets is expected to lead to a steep rise in viewing from those devices. It seems that the iPlayer will continue to grow and grow and it could be that the face of TV looks very different from how we imagine in a few years time.

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