The BBC iPlayer catch-up TV service to continues to grow in popularity with the added benefit of driving audiences to the BBC website at www.bbc.co.uk.
During January over 2.2 million people watched a programme using the iPlayer with about 11 million programmes streamed or downloaded on demand. Streaming continues to outperform downloads by a ratio of 8 to 1.
According to Ashley Highfield, the director of BBC Future Media and Technology the number of daily streams/downloads has built steadily since promotion for the online technology began on Christmas Day. In January the figure was 300,000 streams/downloads, rising to 400,000 in early February and last week reaching the half a million figure. “None of these figures look like plateauing,” said Highfield.
During January bbc.co.uk reached an average of 20 million UK visitors, making it the number three site behind MSN and Google, according to the Nielsen ratings. “It’s not a competition, we’re not out for market share, but reach,” said Highfield, stressing the BBC’s public service credentials.”
BBC branded entertainment channels showing clips of BBC programmes have been launched on Yahoo with Blinkx and MSN to follow in the near future. Such tie-ups are able to use clips to drive traffic back to the BBC’s own sites.
In the next few weeks the iPlayer will be added to Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch, however despite the addition of BBC content to the iTunes store by BBC Worldwide, talks to add downloads for Mac users are still ongoing.
New features to be added to the iPlayer interface – most likely by lunchtime today – include additional search facilitates, categories and sub categories. Making the site compatible with the Firefox browser and moving the download button up the page has together increased traffic by an estimated 20%.