BBC iPlayer Moves to Sky, Now on All Major U.K. Platforms

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Catch-up service BBC iPlayer will be available to users of Sky's on-demand service Sky Anytime+ later this year, with Sky making Sky Anytime+ available to customers regardless of their internet provider rather than just those on Sky's own broadband network. The move will extend the possible reach of Sky Anytime+ by 5 million homes on top of the 1.2 million Sky Broadband homes that already use the service.

Weekly usage for Sky's service increased by 80 percent in the three months ending on December 31, 2011. In addition to programmes from Sky's own channels, it offers access to content from MTV, Discovery, FX, History, Disney, UK TV, and National Geographic Channel.

Archive BBC content -- including Doctor Who and Top Gear -- is already available on Sky Anytime+ through Sky's existing deal with UK TV.

Sky has also reached a new agreement with ITV which will see ITV content such as Prime Suspect accessible through the main Sky Anytime+ menu as well as a new dedicated ITV Player section.

For BBC iPlayer, the move means it will be available on every major U.K. broadcast platform. iPlayer is already on Virgin Media, BT Vision, FreeSat, Freeview, PS3, Wii, and hundreds of mobile phones, tablets, and connected TVs helping it to post record growth figures of 1.94 billion TV and radio programme requests last year.

Although computers are still the most popular platform for BBC iPlayer users, accounting for two-thirds of requests, December saw a huge spike in usage through mobiles, tablets, and connected TVs.

In December alone, BBC iPlayer received 7 million programme requests on connected TV sets, a year-on-year increase of over 1,000 percent, while mobile phones and tablets recorded 13 million and 10 million requests -- year-on-year increases of 163 percent and 596 percent, respectively. This reflects both the growing penetration of internet-connected devices, and the near-universal availability of iPlayer on those devices.

This combination helped iPlayer register a record-breaking 187 million monthly requests across all platforms in December alone, a 29 percent increase year-on-year. Top Gear's India Special was the most popular programme -- watched 1.7 million times over the month of December.

In a press release, Daniel Danker, general manager of programmes and on-demand, said: "While 2011 was a remarkable year for BBC iPlayer across the board, the real story was growth of iPlayer on TVs, mobile phones, and tablets, outpacing PC growth many times over. Having established itself as a must-have app for smartphone users and the gold-standard for TV on the go, we see huge potential for BBC iPlayer on the living room set in 2012."

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