back to article Beeb's iPlayer reaps streaming traffic dividends

The BBC's Flash-based streaming service has gifted a massive traffic boost to the iPlayer site since it went live in mid-December, independent figures have revealed. Traffic analysis firm Hitwise reports that in the five weeks beginning 2 December, iPlayer visits rocketed 14 times over. Flash streaming launched 13 December, and …

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Happy

Project Kangaroo

When BBC2 launched in the UK didn't the adverts have a Kangaroo on it labelled BBC1& the Joey in the pouch labelled BBC2? What comes around, etc...

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Unhappy

Overseas Please

As an ex-pat living in the sunny US of A, I miss the Beeb, and although I'm sure I could get the episodes I want from other not so legitimate sources, I'd be more than happy to pay a subscription to be able to use the iPlayer from here.

It'd be a win-win for the beeb, they get more revenue from my subscription money, and I wouldn't end up with an archive of BBC material cluttering up my hard drive (Which I don't as I don't do the illegal thing) then if I wanted to view the episodes again later, I would have to buy the DVD's (More money for the BBC) rather than just playing the archived file I already had (Which again, I don't, but I could have)

We do have a BBC America channel, but let's face it, it may as well be called the BBC Changing Rooms channel, or possibly the BBC Programs that everyone else has already seen, discussed, and forgotten about channel

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Unhappy

BBC to clever for me!

I may be sitting in the middle of East Anglia, but the portal for the company's net is in Germany and the BBC don't like that. I have to watch at home where I've already got a TV ...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Overseas Please

Hi,

Looks like the BBC will be glad to take your money in the not-too-distant future:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/29/bbc_worldwide_expansion/

- Chris

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Jobs Halo

let's make a platform available across this whole global media interweb thingy

and make it only available in the uk. a victory for common sense, old bean! Another Pims?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BBC to clever for me!

I use this to watch US-restricted videos on NBC et al's Hulu site. It's much simpler than proxies etc., and should work for you on iPlayer, assuming you have install rights.

http://anchorfree.com/downloads/hotspot-shield/

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Anonymous Coward

Client software

My parents started using this just before Christmas and much prefer the picture quality of iPlayer client software downloads rather than the streaming version which frankly looks dodgy as heck in full screen mode on their PC.

As soon as the programme has downloaded they either watch it and then delete it or close the client until they plan to watch it or download another show, so a minimal amount of bandwidth is used. (kontiki no longer hangs around in the background when the application is closed since a recent update).

One of my cousins is less than happy about the blanket advertising and success of it as he works for the BBC and his work involves the infrastructure used by iPlayer which he feels isn't quite ready for mainstream use and is giving him headaches!

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re:let's make a platform available across this whole global media interweb thingy

Its all about the rights, or lack of, to distribute outside the UK. Crap I know, you'd think they'd have got their rights act together by now, after all the web's only been around for fifteen years...

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Thumb Up

Flash vs Download

I much prefer the download option for use at home, as it is acceptable to watch on a real TV, where as the flash one is OK for watching something short I wouldn't want to watch a full hour of programming on it.

As someone else mentioned, in the current version of the software you can choose not to share the programs when you are not signed in.

My best download time so far was an hour program in just over 15 minutes, with the worst being an hour program showing that it would take 16 hours (I tried again at a different time that day and it downloaded in about 25 minutes).

So a thumbs up to the iPlayer.

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Flame

"which will charge AND carry adverts", that takes the biscuit.

If a customer, a paying customer, is forking over their cash to watch TV shows it is an outrage that the broadcaster still thinks they should force them to endure advertising at the same time.

It's not like in a magazine when flipping the page instantly makes dodging the advert a doddle, you're forced to sit there and wait for the bloody thing to finish.

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License fees

I'm guessing the iPlayer is fully restricted to UK IP's -. Which makes sense to me, it's only going to be a small proportion of Broadband users in the UK, who won't have a TV ....the iPlayer allows License payers, another way of accessing programmes they have paid for.

In a similar way that the BBC website now carries adverts - if your IP is NonUK - I would have hoped the iPlayer could stream paid for adverts for NonUK viewers, before the programme.

They do it with their own self-serving 10-15second inhouse advert clip, so why not allow longer paid-for adverts for NonUK IP's? Another revenue stream for the BBC sounds good to me.

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Anonymous Coward

p2p download version?

The beeb seem to be doing their very best to hide the p2p version. I can't find a download link anywhere... not that I really want to waste my downloading it, as I did with the beta version, only to find that it refused to work. Where did it go? Have they dropped it already?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: "which will charge AND carry adverts", that takes the biscuit.

I reckon it'll be one or the other, rather than both on one show, but at the Kangaroo announcement all they would say is there will be a "mixed model", so there's no telling for sure as yet.

- Chris

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far better than the iplayer

is www.tvcatchup.com. The quality is about the same, but the number of channels is in a different league.

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Anonymous Coward

paying and watching adverts?

"If a customer, a paying customer, is forking over their cash to watch TV shows it is an outrage that the broadcaster still thinks they should force them to endure advertising at the same time."

eerrmm sky?

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@AC RE: anchorfree

cheers for that, i've been looking for the means to *ahem* beta test hulu...

sadly, it doesn't look like it works for iPlayer, as i assume the VPN it connects you to is based in the US

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Linux

Flash vs Media Player

I know many people moaned about the non open Windows Media player version before the flash one, but I wish they kept that option there if you wanted it. On Windows, using Media player was so much better quality than their Flash one (and so is Channel 4's 4oD).

Also, why 7 days and not 30?

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Hmm..

"If a customer, a paying customer, is forking over their cash to watch TV shows it is an outrage that the broadcaster still thinks they should force them to endure advertising at the same time."

You mean like Sky or Virgin?

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@Steve Cooper

The flash version is streamed in IE and FF, but you can still download using iPlayer on Windows.

The programs are available to stream or download for 7 days, then downloaded programs can be watched within 30 days of the broadcast date. (After you start watching you get 7 days before they expire.)

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Stop

Oh, there it is.

They neatly hide it from Firefox users.

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Flame

RE: BBC to clever for me!

P.Alan Smith said "I may be sitting in the middle of East Anglia, but the portal for the company's net is in Germany and the BBC don't like that. I have to watch at home where I've already got a TV ..."

Why are you wasting company resources watching TV online haven't you got enough work to do???

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Alert

Don't forget the bandwidth costs

I wouldn't write off P2P yet; the execution may be flaky in this case, but the principle is sound.

If the iPlayer streaming version takes off, the server bandwidth required is going to be astronomical. Also, what do you do for people on the edge of the network with limited broadband? Background download may be their only option.

Of course, the real solution to this is to download over multicast...

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Re: Flash vs Download

>> where as the flash one is OK for watching something short I wouldn't want to watch a full hour of programming on it.

I've watched hour-long programs on it no problem. That's on a Mac mini connected to a standard def TV - the picture quality is better than a lot of the low bitrate channels on Sky / Freeview (the content quality is significantly better too...).

I'm sure that the download service is good for some people, but unless it works on the computer plugged into my TV (i.e. a mac) I'm never likely to use it.

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Why?

Why would anyone bother with a crappy Kontiki based thing or streaming? Real P2P gives you a high def video in a format that can be used on standalone players, so you are not tied to your PC.

Regarding the 7 days to download, and whether you have to buy DVDs after that time frame to stay within the law, is this entirely correct?

7 days seems to be an abitrary number plucked by the BBC from thin air for the distribution stage. After that, you have 30 days to start watching it if you've downloaded a copy, and 7 more days after you initially start watching it before it self destructs. That's 44 days in total.

I can find no mention of any time limit on video or PVR recordings at the licensing site or the BBC. I suspect there isn't one. If that's the case, then as a license holder I can easily justify using bittorrent as a "catchup" service to find things from months or years ago.

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Happy

Missable? Unmissable?

Is the logical negation to make the missable totally missable?

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Love to see this in Canada

Thanks Chris. I'm eagerly looking forward to when we can get this in Canada.

As with the USA, there is a BBC Canada, but it presents a tiny percentage of the BBC programming. Mostly it has repeats of the same dozen shows.

I'd be prepared to pay a modest fee. The cost of getting programs on DVD is prohibitive. And further more, the BBC region code protects most of its programs, so they won't play on my DVD player without me doing tricks.

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Anonymous Coward

Cinema

"If a customer, a paying customer, is forking over their cash to watch TV shows it is an outrage that the broadcaster still thinks they should force them to endure advertising at the same time"

Been to a cinema lately?

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Gates Horns

What a surprise, streaming is better.

You can start watching a programme straight away and five minutes in decide you don’t want to watch the rest of it, or you can wait while you download a lot of data, then decide you don’t want to watch it and immediately delete what you’ve just downloaded. And, a lot of data really can be a lot of data. The biggest offering I’ve noticed was the first episode of the two-episode version of The Most Annoying People of 2007, which weighed in at over one gigabyte.

I’m not convinced that streaming will be any more of a bandwidth burden than Kontiki. P2P won’t work now that people can stop it from uploading, and that would have only been compounded by people like me who would have previously needed to download vast amounts of data they would have ended up not using, but would have almost immediately deleted meaning it could never have had a chance of being uploaded anyway.

The streaming part of the iPlayer website should have the tagline “oh bugger, this would have done.” The project as a whole should certainly feature in any The Most Annoying Software of 2007.

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Pirate

Two Words ...

Nova and UK, not in that order

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Thumb Down

'gift' is not a verb!!!

FFS, this is an article on a UK website about something happening in the UK, written by someone in the UK. The language is called 'English' - try using it occasionally!!

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Unhappy

Bloody disgrace to the license fee payers!!!!

Disgraceful!! I agree with all the moaning. BBC should make hundreds of different players for each moaners exact personal TV watching preference. I pay my license fees. It's a disgrace to the license fee payers that they expect some generic software to work for everyone. Nobody else does this, except for everyone else, so why should the BBC? It's disgraceful. I pay my license fees but have to sleep 8 hours a day and blink many times watching a programme. It's disgraceful that it this isn't reflected in the license fees, which I pay.

It's a bloody Disgrace. License fees... etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc..... yawn

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@James Smith

Two words.

Full and Up, in that order.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: 'gift' is not a verb!!!

I'm afraid it is Nick. The OED lists citations going back to the 1600s, including from Henry Fielding and Henry James.

Whether one likes it is a matter of taste, of course.

Fowlers' Modern English usage says it has fallen out of favour as a verb. I say rhubarb.

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Pirate

@Vulpes Vulpes

James Smith's difficult word puzzle site may be full up, but I believe they ditch the out-of-date accounts around 8pm each night - it's the best time to try I think

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Unhappy

I pay my licence fee in the UK

... but I'm currently working overseas.

Why can't I watch what I've already paid for?

Does anyone know of a workaround proxy that is based in the UK?

Or better still, how could I set one up in my own home?

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But still the BBC don't listen

They have been pretty much ordered to provide an open platform solution for iPlayer and still HAVE NOT. I see many people praising the BBC for setting up the flash streaming service and I don't understand why. I lead a letter writing campaign against the BBC because of the iPlayer last year and as a Linux user I still cannot use the service (styreaming or otherwise). Why? Because Adobe do not and will not provide a 64bit flash plugin for linux. Nuff said.

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Unhappy

You haven't seen Sky Box Office...

...recently I came across a the Mayfield and someone boxing fight. It had been shown on Sky Box Office. You know, that service you pay extra for, even though you pay for Sky.

So I'm watching this clip... and b****y adverts come up!??! What the h??? You pay to watch it, and they STILL advertise at you!

Are you telling me they don't make enough money from the advertising on an exclusive event that wasn't aired on any other TV station, that they have to charge the viewer too?

*fume*

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Silver badge
Happy

subscription ^ adverts

"If a customer, a paying customer, is forking over their cash to watch TV shows it is an outrage that the broadcaster still thinks they should force them to endure advertising at the same time."

I never watch adverts on sky. The procedure is this:

Change channels on time. Do something else for period dictated by formula ( sum total of all advert breaks in programme - estimated total time spent rewinding and pausing interesting bits ). Rewind to beginning of programme. Fast-forward through advert breaks.

You can get Freeview receivers with built-in hard disk drives now, so you don't have to put money in Murdoch's pocket.

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Go

Re: But still the BBC don't listen

"Because Adobe do not and will not provide a 64bit flash plugin for linux."

I'm on a 64 bit Linux system and have adobe flash working fine. The trick is to run a 32 bit version of firefox, in fact I've removed the 64 bit version so I can run flash, java, mplayer (for quicktime and wmv) and all the other 32 bit plugins.

There is also a tool to allow 32 bit plugins to run under a 64bit firefox but I can't see the point at the moment. I'm not sure why I would need a 64 bit web browser.

Flash movies are an excellent way for the BBC to stream content as it does run on most platforms.

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iPlayer

That iPlayer's a bit demanding !!! 20gb of disk space required ???? Surely not.

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@Chris Williams

"The BBC's Flash-based streaming service has gifted a massive [14x] traffic boost to the iPlayer site since it went live in mid-December, independent figures have revealed."

So you're seriously claiming that the streaming version being launched led to the traffic to the iPlayer website going up by 14x??

Why do you think TV advertising campaigns cost millions and millions of pounds? It's because TV advertising campaigns multiply sales - it is not an excuse for the advertisers to donate money to ITV et al. The spike in traffic to the iPlayer website will have been almost completely due to the TV advertising blitz over Xmas. If the streaming version had launched before Xmas and there had been no TV adverts the traffic to the iPlayer website would have hardly gone up at all.

Also, do you actually use the streaming version of the iPlayer? I've found that it buffers so badly that it's unusable at peak times. And there's nothing wrong with my Internet connection, because to check that it's okay when the iPlayer is unusable I've tried downloading from a fast server and it manages to download at about 6 to 7 Mbps.

"We've written at length on why the desktop client is a non-starter for the mass market. With the case for streaming now proven, the BBC would do well to silence the interoperablity grumbles for good by killing it off."

So you think it's a good idea to kill off the download version that provides higher picture and audio quality than the streaming version, works perfectly well, by definition has no problems with buffering, will scale well as more people use the iPlayer, and is likely to carry HD content in future? And in its place you want the BBC to only use a streaming version that suffers horrendously from buffering problems, scales abysmally due to it using unicasting (and cannot use multicasting), provides poor picture and audio quality and will probably be able to carry HD content by about 2046 once the BBC can afford the Internet bandwidth required? Good call.

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