The BBC is a forward-looking company, usually. It can afford to because it’s funded by us, the loyal taxpayers. This does, however, mean good things when it comes to online video.
The world is changing, mainly thanks to technology. Specifically the combination of the Internet and mobile devices. Gone are the days when we were all tied to our sofas, as mobile devices and wireless Internet connections now make it possible to do pretty much anything on the go.
While mobile phones may primarily be for communication, they are quickly morphing into something different altogether. And the new wave of tablet computers, led by the Apple iPad, put entertainment at the heart of their user experience.
Which is good news for online video.
BBC iPlayer Future
Having already released an app for Apple devices, the BBC is committed to releasing apps for other mobile platforms in coming months. And these apps are expected to vastly increase the amount of mobile viewers the iPlayer gets.
Daniel Danker, the former Microsoft man who took over as General Manager, Programmes & On-Demand late in 2010, told The Guardian:
“The ratio of growth we’re seeing [of mobile viewing] is incredible. I’m not a betting man, but if I was then I’d bet that this will continue to grow. It’s about to really climb. The share of how people are viewing TV [via the iPlayer] will look meaningfully different at the end of this year.”
“This gives us a really clear signal where things are headed. When the traditional primetime ends and families do different things – some go to sleep, some leave the living room, others do work – what happens is that people go into their bedroom and are watching on their tablets or on their mobile. That’s super interesting to us.”
Unlike many other companies the BBC is looking to the future and realizing the way people consume media – video, music, games – is changing rapidly. And without the need to please and appease shareholders, the publicly-funded BBC is staying one step ahead.
I agree with Danker that the future of mobile, and not just for the iPlayer. Mobile devices are only going to get more powerful, more capable, and more ubiquitous. Which means any company which neglects them will be left behind. And most of them haven’t got the luxury that the license fee affords the BBC.
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