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I almost heart BBC iPlayer April 2, 2008

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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By Jill

Ha, ha! Despite knowing lots of ‘stuff’ I still fell for the BBC‘s flying penguins April Fools’ yesterday morning. Great spoof. And of course both real and virtual worlds were buzzing about it.

The penguins spoof actually marks the launch of the second phase of the BBC’s multi-dimensional marketing campaign for iPlayer. I’ve been using iPlayer since the turn of the year and it has the potential to be truly wonderful. Evidently I’m not on my own with 11m programmes streamed/downloaded and 2.2m users in January alone. It’s a great demonstration of ‘technology’ at its best. It is so simple to use. No downloading, complicated instructions or waiting. Truly click and go. The programmes run in almost DVD like quality, even in full screen, no jerkiness or atmosphere destroying stop-go like a YouTube or indeed many videos available online.

Well that’s history now; my romance has temporarily ended. Perhaps it was a fluke but the first bunch of programmes I watched streamed beautifully, but no more. Last week’s The Apprentice ran perfectly for the first 50 minutes and then the last – and of course most critical – section ran in almost 10 second bursts for the next 20 minutes. Gavin and Stacey ran at a stutter almost from the start. I could go on. I even went to FAQs, which is more than your average user is prepared to do, but they danced around the issue.

I don’t want to wait 20 minutes plus to download. I’m typically time poor and on demand is where it is at.

It had all started so well.

iPlayer has the potential to create a truly market transforming moment. Please don’t let the technology gremlins rob us of that. And if what I sense is true – that the systems/technology behind this are creaking under the pressure of increased demand – is now the right time to be driving up the user numbers? Let’s not forget that once consumers have tried something and it’s no good, they mostly never return….

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