BBC clarifies iPlayer syndication

October 22, 2009

The BBC has published new guidelines for the growing number of connected devices that are intending to support the BBC iPlayer catch-up television service.

Although the majority of the 100 million streams delivered each month come from the internet, a quarter are from Virgin Media’s cable service, and just under 10% from the Sony PlayStation 3. The accessing of content from mobile devices is also becoming increasingly popular.

Kerstin Mogull, COO, BBC Future Media & Technology says that with many more connected devices becoming available, the combination of the need to deliver a high quality experience and the wide variation of standards in the market, makes supporting them an expensive business.

Consequently, the BBC is faced with a trade off between being platform neutral, and safeguarding the licence fee. In a clarification to its main statement, the BBC says it will consider adjusting its standard iPlayer technology products for specific device families with an installed base of over 100,000. The BBC will consider bespoke development of iPlayer technology for specific device families with an installed base of over 500,000.

The figures concerned are for an actual installed base or a specific case, such as an upgrade to mobile phone software.

Versions of the iPlayer are available for mobile devices manufactured by Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and HTC. In addition to the PS3, devices that connect to a standard TV display are also increasingly featuring the catch-up service, such as Netgem-produced Fetch TV DTT hybrid receiver.