BBC iPlayer Now Available on the Nintendo Wii

The BBC has formed a partnership with Nintendo UK to make its BBC
iPlayer "catch-up TV" service available via the Nintendo Wii gaming
console (note: last month, the Corporation also made the iPlayer
available via the Apple iPhone).
The partnership was announced by
Erik Huggers, the BBC's group controller for future media and
technology, in a keynote speech at the MIPTV-Milia conference in
Cannes earlier this month. "Working with Nintendo marks another
exciting milestone for BBC iPlayer," he said. "It underlines our
commitment to reaching new audiences by making BBC iPlayer

available on as many platforms as possible. The BBC's catch-up TV
service can now be accessed on an increasing number of different
platforms--from the Web and portable devices to gaming consoles. It
will shortly be available on TV."

Once the Wii iPlayer service went live, a message was sent to all Wii
consoles in the UK that were connected to the Internet, to notify them
of the service's availability. Wii owners can access the iPlayer via the
Internet Channel on the Wii main menu (note: new users may be
required to download the Wii Internet Channel): once it is installed,
they click through to bbc.co.uk/iplayer to search for programs they
want to watch. According to the BBC, the current version of the Wii
iPlayer service is a "beta phase" and improved versions of the service
are expected to be rolled out later this year. The Corporation claims
that, since it launched last Christmas, over 42 million programs have
been accessed on the iPlayer.

Earlier this month, the BBC announced that the iPlayer enjoyed
significant growth in the first three months since its official launch on
Christmas Day 2007. According to the Corporation, requests for
downloads and streams of its programs on the iPlayer totaled 17.2
million in March, compared to 14 million in February and 11.2 million
in January--representing month-on-month growth of 25%, and
contributing to a total of over 42 million programs accessed on the
platform since Christmas. In addition, the BBC says, average weekly
users of the iPlayer totaled 1.1 million in March, compared to 750,000
in January; and the average daily number of requests to download or
stream programs via the platform totaled over 550,000, compared to an
average of 360,000 in January. (Note: the BBC qualified its claims with
the following rider: "The BBC's iPlayer measurement system uses a
sample of users and there are variances with the other page traffic
measurement systems. This data is not yet audited. The BBC is
working towards meeting industry standards for video and audio
streaming and downloading. The BBC is constantly working on its
measurement systems and reserves the right to augment or change its
methodology as the platform develops.")

According to the BBC, the two most-streamed programs on the iPlayer
in its first three months were the first episode of the current series of
the reality show, "The Apprentice," and "Louis Theroux: Behind Bars,"
a show in which the eponymous documentary-maker investigated the
US penal system. Other titles appearing in the BBC's list of top 20 most
iPlayer-streamed shows include "Gavin and Stacey," BBC One's
coverage of a rugby game between England and France, "Ashes to
Ashes," "EastEnders," and "Torchwood." "BBC iPlayer continues to
show significant growth and we are delighted that audiences are
responding to it so positively," Ashley Highfield, the BBC's
then-director of future media and technology, said in a prepared
statement. "Its initial performance proves the case not only for BBC
iPlayer, but for all video-on-demand services over the Internet, and
benefits both our audiences and the industry as a whole. We continue to
work closely with the internet service providers with a view to driving
the next generation of broadband Internet access." Added Jana Bennett,
the BBC's director of vision: "The depth and range of the BBC's
programming is genuinely prospering in an on-demand world. The
series opener of 'The Apprentice' was the first program to break
through 100,000 requests-to-view in a single day, and then added
200,000 further requests-to-view over the week it was available.
Audiences are picking up on the big drama, factual and entertainment
highlights of the season after the linear broadcast, as well as embracing
the best of BBC Three. Within the last few days, the season premiere of
the new series of 'Doctor Who' generated over a 150,000 requests in a
single day, which bodes well for the future." Among other things, the
popularity of the iPlayer has resulted in an increasing volume of
complaints from UK broadband ISP's.