It looks as though the BBC has listened to the criticisms levelled at it after it launched its iPlayer in July 2007.
Back then, although the corporation’s entry in to the digital television on demand market was applauded as a forward looking move, the fact that the downloads on offer were only available to people using Windows based operating systems was rightly condemned.
Forced To Offer Alternatives
Then in September, as the result of a 16,000 strong petition being compiled online, the British government stepped in, and told the BBC that they’d have to increase the options to other OS users.
They’ve now delivered on that original condition, and the iPlayer has just been relaunched with Adobe Flash support allowing users with non-Wndows based systems, and browsers to stream the programmes.
About time too, as with the BBC being a publicly funded organisation, the idea of only offering it’s future programme delivery system to just one section of the public was never going to be accepted without an outcry.
The Future Is Black and Purple
The BBC is now looking to the future, with the iPlayer coming out of beta on Christmas day. There will be a massive marketing campaign for the software, based around the slogan ‘Making the unmissable unmissable‘.
BBC future media and technology controller Eric Huggers spoke at the FutureMedia conference in London and explained (via Digital Spy):
“We’re actively pursuing relationships with more suppliers to make sure the iPlayer becomes available on more services as well as Virgin Media [to launch in the new year], so that users have direct access to content on a TV through the iPlayer.”
“This is going to be a fabulously exciting opportunity for the consumer to have direct access on a TV set to all that programming that today is available on a PC through iPlayer.”
“2008 will be the year when we start to find out how [video on demand] gets into the living room and how users can access these services from their couch.”
iPlayer Versus Kangaroo
He also took the time to explain how the iPlayer will be different, and run smoothly alongside Kangaroo, the new joint venture between the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4.
“The iPlayer is the public service broadcaster’s way of maximising value to the licence fee payer by offering a seven-day catch-up. Kangaroo is a commercial service with other UK broadcasters.”
“After the BBC shows’ seven-day catch-up windows expire, Kangaroo picks them up, so the two services will never offer the same content at the same time.”
Alongside the iPlayer relaunch, the BBC is also planning to redesign its homepage, and add social networking, and user controlled elements to it, in the hope that BBC content will take hold across the Internet in a more viral way than currently.
In the end, the BBC hopes to be fully digital and tape-free by 2012, and by then offer 1.3 million hours of archived content online.
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