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BBC iPlayer usage soars

The BBC's catch up online TV option proves popular

BBC iPlayer interface

You can download and watch shows on iPlayer up to seven days after they air on TV

The BBC’s online catch-up TV service, iPlayer, is watched online for an hour a week by nearly a quarter of consumers, according to The Olswang Convergence Consumer Survey 2008

The research into more than 1,000 consumers’ online TV viewing habits – part of a survey carried out in conjunction with market research agency YouGov – also found that catch-up TV over the internet is becoming a part of daily life. 

TV viewing trends

Of consumers who watch online catch-up TV:

  • 81% visit an online TV service  at least once a month. 
  • 54% visit an online TV site at least weekly.
  • 6% visit an online TV service daily.

The BBC iPlayer was found to be by far the most popular online catch-up TV service, but in addition to the iPlayer the Olswang survey found that 17% of respondents watch legitimate online TV services other than iPlayer for at least one hour a week and 9% watch (or admit to watching) illegal online TV for at least one hour a week.

Has iPlayer changed how we watch TV?

Which? online TV services expert Natalie Hitchins says: ‘The BBC iPlayer has radically overhauled the way viewers watch TV, taking the concept of online television from a niche pastime enjoyed by a handful of die-hard technology fans to a mainstream service used by more than a fifth of all consumers every week.

‘In the space of a year the iPlayer has moved rapidly ahead of its rivals by constantly innovating to become the most flexible and accessible online TV service available to UK TV viewers.

‘Streaming and downloading TV programmes is a broadband bandwidth hungry activity – so if you’re planning on using iPlayer or other TV over broadband services regularly, switch to an uncapped broadband package or keep a close eye on how much you are downloading.’ 

For more on a range of online catch up TV services including the BBC iPlayer, ITV Catch Up, Channel 4 on demand and Sky Player plus other online film and TV services, take a look at the Which? guide to TV over broadband

If you’re keen on catching up on your favourite TV shows like Spooks or Desperate Housewives online but you’re not sure your internet connection is up to scratch, the Which? broadband review has hundreds of fast broadband deals with high or unlimited usage caps to choose from.


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