A favourite on The Shelf, the BBC iPlayer is due for a second generation overhaul, as the service gets a facelift a year after it was launched in beta.
As part of the plans the iPlayer will integrate both radio and video services into a single player, with increased functionality and user friendly interface.
“We’ve learned quite a bit over the last 12 months about what our audience likes… and we’ve continued to innovate quite substantially.” – BBC group controller Erik Huggers
As part of the increased functionality of the player users will be able to resume last played clips (dependent on cookies) allowing them to resume half way through a program they didn’t have time to watch in its entirety on their last visit.
Another feature that will be added to the service is a TV schedule, allowing users to plan which programs they wish to view in advance, ensuring the seven day play back restriction of favourite shows doesn’t expire without first having the chance to watch them.
As well as incorporating radio into the service, 250 new television programs a week will be added to enable access to the entire BBC schedule free of charge.
The service was first launched on Christmas day 2007, and has since changed the viewing habits of millions of people who are now able to catch up on a range of shows broadcast across the BBC digital channel catalogue. In the last six months alone the BBC state that there have been over 100m programme requests.
The service has proven to be the reason for the success of a range of shows, including Gavin and Stacy which receives 7% of its viewing figure through the service, and The Mighty Boosh which receives 40%.
Currently only available through Windows on the PC, there are also plans for a version of the download service for Mac and Linux.
The Shelf reported in April in ISPs vs BBC iPlayer of pressure from ISP put on the BBC to pay for extra bandwidth due to the iPlayer’s unprecedented success, but huggers commented on that recently stating:
“All that has literally gone silent. We are partnering and working very closely with the ISP community.”
The BBC is also part of a joint commercial venture with ITV and Channel 4 called Kangaroo which is due to launch later this year, and there are plans to integrate the iPlayer into that service. – Protest of Kangaroo
With plans to make its 80 year archive accessible to the public, as well as provide an overseas service, it could very well mean there will eventually be a commercial arm to the BBC’s on demand offerings.