BBC iPlayer begins recommending programmes
James R | On 21, Oct 2015
BBC iPlayer will begin recommending programmes to you from this week. But don’t worry: it’s not becoming sentient and plotting to take over the world, a la Skynet. It’s simply the next step in the Beeb’s ongoing drive to personalise its website as much as possible.
iPlayer has long set its sights on becoming more like Netflix than a typical TV catch-up service. Content has become available for longer, with a growing emphasis placed on iPlayer-exclusive titles, while archive material has been made available to stream.
But personalisation remains the holy grail of streaming. For platforms such as All 4, individual user profiles allow for targeted advertising. For iPlayer, it means people are more likely to use the site – and more likely to watch more of it when they do. The BBC recently added a “My Programme” area, which allows users to sign in and find the shows they’ve favourited, not unlike Netflix’s My List, as well as programmes they’ve started watching but not finished. It also allows users to pause and resume titles across all devices.
Now, to complete the Netflixification of iPlayer, signed in users will receive recommendations of programmes based what they’ve previously watched. The feature is part of a wider rollout of personalised features across the BBC site and other apps, including the ability to sync the My News section within the BBC News app on multiple devices and major update to BBC Sport’s popular app, which creates a similar personalised My Sport page with a customised menu to highlight stories from their favourite sports, teams and competitions.
What’s next? Binge-viewing of whole TV shows? Yes, as part of its strategy for the next 10 years, the BBC has also unveiled plans to release series all-at-once alongside their linear broadcast for binge-viewing.