BBC unveils iPlayer man

The first audience research into the use of the iPlayer has been made available by the BBC. It paints a picture of the average user of the online catch-up TV service who is male, aged about 40, in a full time job, with a partner, but no children.

Typically the user will access the content on his desktop PC, alone, though occasionally his partner will watch with him. He would have first found the site through the BBC homepage, having been prompted to look for something that he had missed in its original linear transmission. Later he will search for a specific programme rather than browse for what else might be available and continues to search through the main BBC homepage.

The survey conducted for the BBC by Dipstick Research interviewed 2,027 adults. Of these 901 had used the iPlayer and 794 went onto answer more detailed questions.

Our typical user will stream the programme directly onto his computer in full screen mode – the BBC earlier revealed that 7% of iPlayer users have connected their PCs to the main TV display – and sometimes he will defer watching the programme on linear TV in the knowledge that it will later appear on the iPlayer.

Writing on his BBC blog, Anthony Rose is Head of Digital Media, BBC Future Media & Technology, emphasised that the iPlayer reaches a broad cross section of the population with only 25% falling within the 35-44 age range. “We were really happy to find that older people, as well as younger ones, are using BBC iPlayer, so we’re not just attracting the stereotypical younger early-adopters who will generally pick up on new technologies and gadgets before the mainstream. The BBC iPlayer age profile is actually right in line with the profile of the general broadband UK population,” he said.

The research also reveals that our “iPlayer man” has not experienced any problems with his ISP – contrary to the picture painted by Tiscali and others earlier this year – and despite the availability of other platforms such as the Wii or the Apple iPhone our friend hasn’t used any of them.