The BBC’s iPlayer has been a massive success since it was introduced in December 2007 and the corporation have today launched a redesigned version of its catchup service in a bid to introduce online viewing to older audiences.
The new service – which will launch on PS3 initially – has been created with web connected TVs in mind after the Beeb predicted that TV rather than smartphones, iPads etc, will dominate iPlayer catch-up within three years.
Daniel Danker, the BBC’s general manager of programmes and on demand, told The Guardian that iPlayer viewing on internet-connected TVs increased five fold in the six months to July, reaching 3.1m programme requests a month.
“We’re going beyond the tech-savvy. We’re making iPlayer easier to use for the mainstream audience,” he said. “With today’s announcement, we’re transforming iPlayer in its most natural home.”
Danker went on to explain that the Beeb’s ambition was to attract more over 35s to the service, so that online viewing demographics represented the BBC’s audience more closely. Figures released by the corporation also indicated how quickly iPlayer use was growing, with 157m programme requests on the iPlayer in June – a 34% rise on the same month last year.
The new iPlayer will be built from scratch with extra features such as ‘recommendations’ being improved and a potential move away from its distinctive black and pink look.
“I’m not religious about colours,” said Danker when asked about the possibility of a shade switch. “There will be an evolution in the look and feel – but it’s evolutionary not revolutionary.”
The BBC launch comes after OfCom released figures which illustrate how more people are purchasing internet-connected TVs. The watchdog reported that one in 10 new TVs (about 1m) bought last year were internet connected and according to forecasts, almost 36m new-generation TVs will be installed in British homes by 2016.