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BBC viewers switching to watch online

21 февраля 2008

The BBC iPlayer is changing the way we watch television, BBC executives said on Monday, as they disclosed that 500,000 programmes are now being viewed over the online video site each day.

For some programmes such as Torchwood, the science fiction spinoff from Doctor Who, the online audience is now up to 10 per cent of the number of television viewers watching the show, said Ashley Highfield, the BBC’s director of future media and technology.

Online viewing appeared to be expanding total viewing hours, rather than substituting for hours in front of the television, he added: “This is probably helping to maintain an otherwise falling TV share.”

Seven weeks after its formal launch, 17m programmes have been downloaded or streamed on demand over the iPlayer, Mr Highfield said, as he unveiled plans to launch the service on Apple’s iPhone and iTouch devices.

More than 2.2m people used the software in January, with the most popular shows being watched by 50,000 people in the first day and picking up viewers over the seven days in which they are freely available.

The success of the iPlayer has prompted analysts to lift forecasts for online television take-up in the UK, but they remain cautious about the prospects for advertising-supported broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4.

Revenues from free-to-view online TV will grow from £19m ($37m) in 2007 to just £98m in 2012, Screen Digest predicted this month.

Mr Highfield said the iPlayer’s popularity had boosted traffic to bbc.co.uk, the broadcaster’s main website, which it expects to overtake MSN to become the second most popular site in the UK after Google.

Источник: Financial Times

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