BBC iPlayer adds new Netflix-like features
James R | On 19, Aug 2015
BBC iPlayer is continuing its quest to become more like Netflix with a raft of new features launched today.
The Beeb’s catch-up service saw views slide significantly during the spring period, attributing a decline in activity to the competition it faces from other VOD platforms, such as Netflix. The broadcaster, though, is up for a fight: iPlayer has been improving its service with a steady addition of new features in the past year, which is helping to transform it from a catch-up site to a veritable digital media hub.
Content has become available for longer, with a growing emphasis placed on iPlayer-exclusive titles, while archive material has been made available to stream. A new interface for both its main site and mobile apps has also been introduced. Now, the BBC is continuing to build on those improvements with a new “My Programme” area, which is designed to personalise the viewing experience for users.
Sign in on the website and/or app and users will find the shows they’ve favourited, not unlike Netflix’s My List, as well as programmes they’ve started watching but not finished, and the next episodes of that series. In another Netflix-inspired move, My Programmes will soon display other programmes the BBC thinks users might like to watch.
Rolling out from today, BBC iPlayer will also introduce its Live Restart function – an invaluable feature on computers – to Connected TVs. Missed the start of a show? The Live Restart buttong allows users to jump back to the beginning of the show without having to wait for it to end and become available.
The service will also become fully cross-device compatible, with pause and resume supported on all devices, allowing viewers to start watching a show on a computer and continue watching on their phone.
Dan Taylor-Watt, Head of BBC iPlayer, says: “This raft of new features promises to give users even greater control over their iPlayer experience, ensuring they’re never late for a BBC TV broadcast again and providing easy access to the programmes they’re enjoying on BBC iPlayer whether at home or on the move”.
The new features arrive just in time for the start of a packed autumn schedule, which sees the likes of Doctor Who, Sherlock and Strictly Come Dancing return to UK screens.