BBC Revamping iPlayer Streaming Video App to Better Compete Against U.S. Services

The BBC’s iPlayer streaming media app is as old as Netflix, launching in 2007 to help viewers in the United Kingdom catch-up with broadcast TV series and movies.

Now the BBC is set to launch a reboot of the service after its U.K. market penetration dipped to 15% from 40% in 2014 — the former largely due to the proliferation of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

With Disney and Apple bowing branded streaming services next month, the BBC plans to enable the new iPlayer to watch programming upwards of 12 months old instead of the current government-mandated 30-day limit, in addition to original and current shows.

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BBC chairman/CEO Tony Hall, in a prepared statement released to the media and reportedly slated to be delivered Oct. 6, said the new iPlayer would be a unique benefit to consumers.

“iPlayer is a great service,” Hall said. “But it can and will be even better. It will be a new front door for British creativity. There are exciting times ahead.”

Interestingly, the revamped iPlayer comes as the BBC and ITV launch BritBox in the U.K. — two years after the British-themed subscription streaming video service bowed in 2017 the United States.

“iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programs – a ‘total TV’ experience, which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time,” Charlotte Moore, director of content at BBC, said.

 

Ampere: It’s Still a YouTube/Netflix Video World

Google-owned YouTube and Netflix remain the top sources for online video and subscription VOD, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that 63% of survey respondents streamed a video on YouTube in the past month, followed by 39% doing the same on Netflix and 27% on Facebook.

The survey is based on 41,000 online respondents across 20 markets conducted in the first quarter (ended March 31).

Ampere found YouTube ranked the No. 1 source for online video consumption in every region worldwide except the United Kingdom (BBC iPlayer) and China (iQiYi).

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Indeed, more than 60% of respondents in France and Japan watched YouTube, while less than 50% of respondents in the U.K. did so.

As expected, SVOD consumption is highest in the United States – birthplace to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Notably, American tech platform – Facebook – continues to lose video views – down 5% to 23% of respondents since the third quarter of 2016. YouTube fell 4% to 66%, while Netflix increased 15% to 37% of respondents.

“YouTube’s global dominance in this space is evident in its monthly usage,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere, said in a statement. “The differences in viewing between the U.S. and Europe in relation to catch-up and SVOD services is interesting because it shows that SVOD providers will have to work harder in Europe to grow their [market] share as they take on traditional TV channels’ catch-up services. This could be through their catalogue, price-points or communications strategy.”

 

Report: Netflix to Reach 10 Million U.K. Subscribers by Year’s End

Netflix is reportedly set to reach 10 million subscribers in the United Kingdom by the end of the year — about seven years after launching in the region, including Ireland. The U.K. was the subscription streaming video pioneer’s second international expansion after Canada in 2010.

Major sub drivers include recent Comcast acquisition Sky — the British satellite TV operator, which now affords direct access to Netflix for its Sky Q subs. And Virgin Media, with more than 30% of subs accessing Netflix through their set-top device, according to research firm MTM London.

MTM disclosed the data — based on an online survey of more than 3,000 respondents over the age of 16 – in its latest Screen Think report.

As expected, the data confirms the popularity of over-the-top video among younger consumers, with nearly 40% saying they look to Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video first when looking for video content.

“The … study provides a fascinating snapshot of a market in transition, demonstrating the significant impact of Netflix and other OTT video services in the U.K. market,” Jon Watts, managing partner at MTM, said in a statement.

Watts said U.K. broadcasters and pay-TV providers have upped their respective OTT video strategies and remain in a strong competitive position through streaming video products such as the BBC iPlayer, All4, the ITV Hub, My5 and Now TV.

“We’re clearly seeing signs of significant shifts in consumer attitudes [toward Netflix] and perceptions of quality, in terms of content, value for money and innovation,” he said.

Netflix ended its most-recent fiscal period with more than 130 million paid subscribers globally.