BBC iPlayer Wants To Be Social

Blog | Broadcasting | Web + Social

Charlie | Thursday 9th, 2010, 12:00am BST

The new and improved version of the BBC iPlayer has landed ‚Äì and the Corporation has hopped firmly onto the social media¬†bandwagon. New features added to the application, which allows users to view BBC programmes once they have aired on TV, make it easier to find television programmes and enable people to share their favourite shows on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Users who set up a user account will also be able to personalise the iPlayer. More than 1.1 billion minutes are watched on BBC iPlayer every month thanks to popular programmes such as Doctor Who, EastEnders and Sherlock Holmes, and the BBC will hope its iPlayer update compares favourably with the catch-up applications of rival channels, such as the excellent 4OD and mediocre ITV player and Demand Five. “The main theme here is personalisation,” writes BBC iPlayer product leader James Hewines on his blog. “We wanted to connect BBC iPlayer up with the users’ online interactions with friends – to bring a social dimension to watching and listening.” To that effect, the process of integrating Facebook and Twitter accounts with iPlayer profiles has been streamlined and users can now download a television programme before it is broadcast, so that it can be watched immediately after transmission ends. Users will also be offered recommendations for new TV programmes based on previous viewing history and a ‘Favourites’ section, which can be set up to update itself with new episodes of programmes when they come available. Gary Marshall, writing for techradar.com, said: “The new, somewhat iPhone-esque interface is a big improvement over the existing one. It’s more welcoming and considerably less confusing than before.” However, the BBC has admitted there have been a few teething problems during beta trials of the new iPlayer, including excessive buffering during playback and downloaded programmes going ‘missing‚Äô from a user’s profile. It said it was confident these issues had been ironed out before launch. Source: The First Post