The BBC’s iPlayer has been credited by rival media brands, such as Virgin Media, with hugely boosting the market for video-on-demand. ISP companies, including Tiscali, BT and Carphone Warehouse, have expressed concern that the impact of hundreds of thousands of consumers watching BBC programmes on the iPlayer is placing an intolerable strain on their networks – such is its success.
Within three weeks of its official launch, the BBC reported that over 3.5 million programmes had been streamed. The BBC originally planned for only 500,000 users within the first six months of the download service. The iPlayer accounted for 5% of all UK traffic – approximately 5 million page views per day – by June this year.
The iPlayer allows UK viewers who have internet connections to play television programmes from the past seven days and watch them, free of charge, over the web. TV programmes can be downloaded, stored on viewers’computers for up to 30 days and watched as often as required during that time.
Apple iPhone, iPod touch and Nintendo Wii users have access to a beta version of the BBC iPlayer homepage and can stream TV and radio programmes as long as they are connected to a network.
The BBC hopes that providing high quality programmes over the internet legally, easily and for no cost will discourage piracy and illegal downloading. The product has been awarded a Bafta for “Interactive Innovation Service/Platform”.
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