Third version of iPlayer in development

By James Welsh

A new version of iPlayer sporting a fresh design and new features is in development, the BBC has revealed.

Erik Huggers, director of the BBC's future media and technology unit, said that iPlayer is used by approximately 500,000 unique users every day but that work is underway on broadening the appeal of the service.
"There's quite a few more people on the internet who haven't yet used iPlayer, so what comes next is we want to make sure we reach as many people as possible, number one," said Huggers. "That's a drive for broader adoption of the iPlayer.

"Secondly, we're working on iPlayer version 3. We're looking at a whole new look and feel for the service, and we're also going to introduce some new nifty little features, some of which have been in the iPlayer lab for a while, some of which are new altogether."

Huggers also explained some of the difficulties around making iPlayer technologies available to other broadcasters. The sharing of BBC technologies has been a key plank of suggestions designed to secure the financial future of commercial public service broadcasters.

"iPlayer is not a bit of software that you can stick on a disk and give to someone - 'Here's your iPlayer'," Huggers explained. "What you see as a consumer is the least complicated thing of the entire service. The most complicated thing of the entire service is the back end, call it the engine room, the plumbing, making all of the proprietary systems that we have in place talk to each other, work with each other and get those workflows to actually work."

Huggers added that the BBC would examine helping other broadcasters set up their own iPlayers and allow others to build on top of the underlying application by exposing APIs.