Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The growth of multi-screen iPlayer

As a new iPad owner, one of the biggest advantages I’ve found is the convenience it offers over a laptop – especially for casual use such as watching video online. With an almost 600% increase year-on-year in the number of requests made to iPlayer from tablets, a lot of other people seem to agree with me. For connected TVs, the numbers are even more impressive – a year-on-year increase of over 1000%.

While the majority of requests are still made from PCs, the growth in alternative ways of consuming content isn’t too surprising if you think about the TV-watching experience itself. Watching TV tends to be both casual and social; smart TVs and tablets both offer a more suitable form factor than a laptop for this kind of experience, albeit in different ways. Smart TVs and iPlayer-equipped games consoles enable on-demand viewing to be more social, while tablets offer a better multi-screen experience than laptops due to their weight and form factor.

By making iPlayer available on these devices, the BBC has been able to offer an experience that is closer to that of watching live TV, and they’re now seeing the benefits of this. It’s taken a lot of effort on the part of the BBC to make iPlayer available on so many platforms, but with other broadcasters such as ITV, Channel 4 and Sky offering multi-screen catch-up services the benefits of this strategy are becoming more and more obvious.

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