Oz iPlayer offers user clues

Australia is the biggest market for global iPlayer to date and is providing some unique consumer insight, according to Matthew Littleford, General Manager for BBC Worldwide’s global BBC iPlayer.

Launched in Australia in September 2011 as part of a pilot, the global BBC iPlayer is available on iPad, iPod and iPhone in 16 markets in Western Europe, Canada and Australia.  In terms of subscription numbers Australia’s global BBC iPlayer is now larger than the second and third countries combined (Germany and Holland), accounting for 20 per cent of its global revenue.  Twenty three per cent of global BBC iPlayer’s subscribers and 19 per cent of the title downloads are in Australia.  Littleford revealed that there had been a huge number of downloads of the free app and, of all the major territories, conversions to the paid service are higher in Australia than anywhere else, across all devices.

In the first indication of how the pilot global BBC iPlayer is performing in Australia, Littleford said that it was in line with other territories in terms of the way that it was consumed.  Thirteen per cent of Australian users access the app on multiple devices and 7 per cent of subscribers don’t have an iPad, implying that they are watching content solely on iPhone and iPod touch.  Also in line with other markets, the average Australian subscriber watches 4.2 shows a week.

However there are significant differences, he revealed that in Australia there was more demand for content to be viewed out of home.  Australia significantly over-indexed in the use of the download-to-view offline functionality, implying that Australians are accessing content to view whilst travelling or commuting. Over a fifth of content is being accessed in this way (21 per cent), compared to around 16 per cent in other territories.

He also talked about viewing patterns in Australia.  Global BBC iPlayer viewing peaks  at 9pm and also 7am for the kids content, with daytime viewing higher at the weekends and around a third more viewers on Saturday daytime than during the week  (daytime 10am-5pm).While Pareto’s 80:20 rule says that 80 per cent of a broadcaster’s  revenues generally come from their top 20 per cent of content, with global BBC iPlayer in Australia and elsewhere the top 20 per cent of shows generate around 60 per cent of total views. This doubling of share for the long tail indicates that there is huge potential in VoD platforms to bring about some important changes in how TV businesses view their content portfolio, he said.

In Australia the most popular genres are Science Fiction, Family and Kids, and Comedy, with favourite shows: Doctor Who, Charlie and Lola and cult comedy Gavin and Stacey.  The major brands draw users in, but it’s the older archive titles such as Steptoe and Son and Yes Minster that make them stay.  This detailed consumer insight, combined with direct viewer feedback, enables the Australian global BBC iPlayer manager, based at BBC Worldwide in Sydney, to tailor programs and collections for the local market.

Says Littleford:  ‘This graphically demonstrates the fact that VoD gives us a unique consumer insight.  It clearly shows how a VoD service can quickly optimise itself to different territories by simply listening to its viewers.  Editorial decisions are already being made on a whole range of completely measurable new insight gained directly from existing viewer interaction and localised for each territory.’

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