Feeds

Beeb confirms iPlayer streaming dominance

P2P outnumbered 8 to 1

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The BBC has revealed that eight times as many people are using its Flash-based streaming iPlayer than the desktop P2P version.

The first publicly available official figures since the Christmas launch say 3.5 million iPlayer programmes were watched by more than one million viewers between 25 December and 7 January.

More good news for the once-cursed project comes with data showing people are watching an average of 25 minutes, overturning popular wisdom stupidity that surfers will only watch web video for a few minutes. That may be true of cats falling down stairs on YouTube, but multimillion-pound professional TV productions seem to have more enduring appeal, shockingly.

It's a reasonable assumption that the vast majority of iPlayer viewers wouldn't have bothered if streaming hadn't been available. We won't bore you again with why.

That would leave about 390,000 users of the Windows-only download client - well short of the July 2007 target* of 500,000 within six months. At that time there were plans to introduce streaming, but no timeframe**.

The Beeb's recently-minted corporate line, espoused by director-general Mark Thompson to a House of Commons select committee hearing last week, is that platform-neutral streaming was always part of the plan.

That's not true, of course - the BBC was forced to act swiftly under pressure from its own Trust and Downing Street - but it's a position that now allows top brass to claim management brilliance. Expect the download iPlayer, resembling an increasingly chalky pachyderm (costing at the very least £4.5m), to be spun as a "choice for viewers".

Today's official recognition of the predominance of the Flash underscores independent data from web traffic monitoring firm Hitwise last week.

In the BBC's press release celebrating its own genius today, Jana Bennett, its head of multimedia production, said: "The BBC iPlayer is a wonderful present, offering viewers the opportunity to catch up whenever they want."

We're not sure how things work round Jana's gaff, but it's traditional at our house that the person receiving a "present" doesn't pay for it, let alone see millions of pounds of their money wasted in the process. ®

*Although in October BBC technology chief Ashley Highfield pushed the date back to April this year. Or he "reiterated" the target, if you write press releases.

*The Beeb asked us to clarify that it had said it aimed to offer streaming in the future. A statement in July said: "In time, extra features will be added to BBC iPlayer, such as streaming on-demand (allowing users to watch a programme straight away), series stacking (which allows users to download episodes from selected series retrospectively) and the highly successful BBC Radio Player."

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.