Connected TVs are “punching well below their weight”, according to the BBC’s head of iPlayer, who has called on manufacturers and broadcasters to simplify their devices and services.
BBC general manager of programmes and on-demand Daniel Danker said iPlayer’s 2 billion programme requests in 2011 proved there was an appetite for connected services - but that mainstream audiences were not being catered for.
He said that despite there being twice as many connected TVs as iPads in the UK, the iPlayer receives four times more views from the latter.
“Why is that?” he asked delegates at the DTG Summit on Friday. “Where have we gone wrong, and why are connected TVs punching well below their weight? With 98% of the viewing time spent on linear television, it follows that connected TV experiences should start with broadcast TV.”
His suggestion that the industry needs to “go back to basics” was supported by Freeview managing director Ilse Howling, who cautioned against a rapid rate of change. She said: “The innovations people want are the ones that improve the things they already do. [Change] must be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.”
Howling referred to the recently announced updates to the DTG’s D-Book (see In Brief) and said “there could be scope for something like Freeview Smart” to help viewers who find the current crop of connected devices too complicated.
“The EPG is something consumers have already intuitively grasped. People want an EPG that better helps them find and watch programmes they like, irrespective of whether they come into the TV via broadcast or broadband. People don’t care how they get there as long as it’s what they want to watch,” Howling said.
Danker said one of the reasons that 19 million people use the BBC’s red button service is that it is simple to operate.
“In a connected world, the red button can transform into an effortless way to bring what we traditionally think of as internet services directly to our audience, right on the TV,” said Danker. “Users need not even realise that behind the scenes they have switched between broadcast and broadband technologies.”