While it is a figure that on first viewing may not blend in well with the strong-performing year that the BBC iPlayer have had, statistics released that show relative BBC iPlayer usage on desktop systems (laptops and computers) dropping is actually a positive for the industry, as the records claim that because of this decline, the diversification of the service’s audience has improved.
Released under the broadcaster’s annual report, it has been noted that ‘PC traffic’ is now representative of exactly half (50%) of their userbase, down 15 percentage points on the same time last year when 65% desktop use was recorded.
However, this appears to be more due to the prevalence of other viewing means rather than any lack of computer-watching, as most of the growth in viewer numbers came from the category of ‘handheld devices’ (phones and tablet computers), which now collectively represent 24% of the iPlayer’s UK-wide audience.
Further down the list, the category of ‘connected TV’ (apps on smart TV and set-top boxes) claimed a 16% share, with apps on internet games consoles contributing 5%, leaving an estimated 5% under the category of ‘other’.
In more short-term news, it was also reported by the BBC that Young Apprentice was their most-requested series on iPlayer for the month of November (the first episode claiming 1.2 million views overall), while other popular broadcasts included The Secret of Crickley Hall, The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler, new BBC3 sitcom Some Girls, and Dara O Briain’s Science Club: Episode 1.
As a successful year comes to a close with potential for the iPlayer to draw in even more viewers through ‘Christmas catch-up’, will the rates of how the site is used now flatline, or will handheld devices soon become the most popular viewing method ahead of the platform that started it all?