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The BBC’s iPlayer iOS app has been downloaded 1.1m times in the week since it was upgraded to run on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Daniel Danker, BBC general manager of programmes and on demand, said that 500,000 of the downloads were to users who had never installed the app before.

The iPlayer app, which was launched on iPad and Android in February, has been a key factor in the growth of tablet and mobile viewing of BBC content.

As reported by paidContent, the BBC said the existing app had been downloaded 1.5m times on iPad and 1.2m times on Android. In October, 16.5m programmes were watched on mobile devices, up 129% year-on-year.

12 months ago, 5% of the total consumption of BBC iPlayer was on mobile and tablet. Fast forward to today, and that figure is 10%, one of our fastest growing areas."

Danker added that the app’s ability to stream TV shows and radio over 3G as well as wi-fi was proving to be popular, with 20% of all iPhone requests last week made using 3G.

The addition of 3G streaming, which has yet to be enabled on the Android app, is a key element of the broadcaster’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics, as Danker said viewers will want to view coverage live rather than waiting to watch it at home.

As to whether the app will be available on other devices, such as Blackberry or Windows Phone, Danker said the decision to roll out on new platforms was based on user experience with value for money.

In most cases, the very best thing we can do for our audience is a mobile web page. Where an app store means audiences have an easier way of finding the product, and ways of doing things above and beyond like live TV and background running, we’ll go there.”

The iOS app is part of a wider BBC plan of making its content available on a variety of platforms, and last week it announced new features on the Virgin Media TiVo Service for 2012.

A new BBC Sport app will be launched alongside existing BBC News and iPlayer apps.

iPlayer is now available on more than 300 different internet-connected TV devices, which looks like it is going to be a competitive area in 2012.

Statistics released by Nielsen last week show that streaming represents 14% of time spent on the Xbox 360, rising to 15% on PS3 time and 33% on Wii.

With this in mind, Microsoft revamped Xbox LIVE earlier this month to make it an all-in-one entertainment hub, and YouTube’s new focus on channels appears to be an attempt to compete with traditional broadcasters.

Therefore the BBC’s focus on making iPlayer available on as many devices as possible appears to be a logical one.

David Moth

Published 20 December, 2011 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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