In England, the hottest thing in television is the BBC iPlayer, which allows consumers to watch vast amounts of previously-aired BBC content on their PCs or on cable TV.

British Broadcasting Corp. programming is funded by a tax on U.K. citizens and then made available for free on broadcast TV. In 2007, the BBC launched its iPlayer as a client on PCs, using Flash technology. The iPlayer allows people to download or stream previously aired programs.

The PC-based iPlayer is so popular that Britain’s big cable company, Virgin Media, decided to use it for "catch-up" TV.

"We ported it onto Virgin’s video on demand platform," said Gary Ellis, director of strategy and architecture for telco TV at SeaChange International.

But Ellis said the iPlayer no longer appears in Virgin’s standard VOD platform. Rather, it’s buried as an application behind BBC broadcast channels. A red-button prompt on those channels takes viewers into the BBC portal where they can choose from hundreds of hours of content.

"The BBC have the data feed, said Ellis. "They are taking from the Virgin portal into the BBC iPlayer portal, using SeaChange content distribution systems to send out to all the VOD servers, pretty much without human intervention. They’re feeding an application from outside the network to the set-top box."

Ellis said the SeaChange system is metadata-driven. Metadata makes the content move to the right place, populates the guide, and defines the business rules.

Virgin Media, with 3.5 million subscribers, is the only TV platform with the iPlayer, said Ellis, who added that it’s turned out to be quite a marketing coup for the cable operator.

"A lot of customers are discovering (the iPlayer) on the PC and then moving over to TV," he said. "Virgin sees it as a differentiator. It reduces churn and gets people accustomed to using VOD."

Virgin Media announced last week that it has added HD content to the BBC iPlayer.

– Linda Hardesty

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

The Daily

Subscribe

Weekly Ratings

Last week was INSP’s second week of “Duke Days of May,” which included films starring John Wayne. The success showed up in Nielsen’s weekly ratings rundown with INSP edging out ESPN to rank as the sixth most-watched network in total day, averaging 455,000 viewers to ESPN’s 438,000. INSP also placed as a top 10 network […]

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up

Calendar

Jun 10
The FAXIES Awards – Virtual CelebrationSave the Date! - June 10, 2021
Jul 16
Diversity List – 2021 Nominations Due: July 16, 2021
Sep 10
Most Powerful Women – 2021 Nominations Due: Sept 10, 2021
Dec 7
Most Powerful Women CelebrationSave the Date!
Full Calendar

Jobs

Seeking an INDUSTRY JOB?
VIEW JOBS

Hiring? In conjunction with our sister brand, Cynopsis, we are offering hiring managers a deep pool of media-savvy, skilled candidates at a range of experience levels and sectors, The result will be an even more robust industry job board, to help both employers and job seekers.

Contact John@cynopsis.com for more information.