On the same day that the BBC announce tomorrow’s launch of version 2 of the iPlayer, comScore release some details of where UK internet viewers are watching their videos. Despite all the whinging from the ISPs, the BBC is a distant second to Google’s collection of video sites, both in terms of the number of videos watched and the number of unique users, unfortunately they don’t compare the number of hours watched (the BBC programmes are likely to be a lot longer…and in the whinging ISPs defense, higher quality).
What is particularly interesting is that neither 4OD or ITV’s catch up service even make it on the top ten list. Reiterating the point I made when the BBC were criticised for over-spending on their online services: The BBC is not competing with commercial UK companies. Rather than criticising the BBCs spending, other content providers should be looking for ways of working with the BBC. Whilst the elusive project Kangaroo will help create an online presence for the traditional TV viewer, it is probably not enough.
People have changed the way they watch video, they are now seemingly watching shorter videos as they click through sites like YouTube. The traditional providers need to find ways of getting part of that market. Whilst attempts are made to make short clips available, it tends to be with a top-down approach, rather than giving the users the free reign that they want. Obviously such free reign is difficult as the BBC, Channel 4, and ITV work within copyright rules, whereas YouTube takes a more laissez-faire approach.
Its obviously not all doom and gloom for the traditional video providers. The iPlayer is still relatively new, Kangaroo will put a bit of bounce in the figures, and as the TV is replaced by computer entertainment systems people will probably start watching longer programmes again. Nonetheless, before the UK tv stations fall further behind, they need to start thinking outside the box a bit more