The BBC iPlayer has helped boost the free-to-view TV consumption in the UK. Screen Digest, a media analyst firm, has released information (PDF) that shows 0.8bn TV streams and downloads were started by UK broadband users in 2007. Their analysis shows that video streams from the BBC, including iPlayer account for 38% of all free-to-view streams in the UK.
The BBC recently released a Flash based iPlayer that allows users on any operating system to view the content available via the iPlayer website. This is a big boost to iPlayer as it takes away the need to download a separate application to view the content. It also helps solve a problem where some users saw a conflict when iPlayer and the 4oD software, Channel 4's online streaming service, were both installed. The Flash player will also benefit broadband users as it uses streaming rather than a peer-to-peer distribution approach.
However, its hard to tell if iPlayer really is as successful as Screen Digest make out. Competing firm, Hitwise, released conflicting information earlier this year, stating that iPlayer usage has soared, but is still well behind YouTube in online video in the UK. Hitwise statistics did exclude viewers using the downloadable iPlayer software. Only time will tell how successful the iPlayer really is.