BBC iPlayer plans global reach, multi-platform coverage

The BBC has announced plans to offer iPlayer both on a global basis and on as many platforms as possible.

Erik Huggers, Director of BBC Future Media & Technology, outlined the plans for the future of the iPlayer, the BBC’s popular catch-up online media player, during a keynote at Screen Digest’s The Future of Online Media Distribution conference.

Huggers indicated that the BBC recognises that it must get iPlayer onto as many digital platforms as possible. He also revealed that the broadcaster intends to offer the service outside the UK.

The BBC also plans to launch a social media platform to further engage its audience in programming.

Huggers also highlighted that the iPlayer audience appeals strongly across all age groups and is being enjoyed by viewers at all times of the day, notably during working hours and after the traditional evening peak viewing times.

The BBC introduced higher-quality video streaming through iPlayer, and announced a move to support open standards back in August. Meanwhile the BBC Trust, on Monday, gave approval to plans that will allow iPlayer users to pre-book programme downloads up to 7 days in advance, although currently Mac users can only stream content.

The corporation’s director general Mark Thompson has promised a Mac-compatible iPlayer by the end of 2008.

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