STL Partners

Telco 2.0 Growth & Innovation

BBC's iPlayer nukes "all you can eat" ISP business model

The UK's largest broadcaster finally launched its online video streaming and download service on Christmas Day 2007. Plusnet, a small ISP owned by BT,  has provided a preliminary analysis of the traffic and the results should send shivers down the spine of any ISP currently offering an unlimited "all-you-eat" service.

The iPlayer service is basically a 7-day catch-up service which enables people who missed and didn't record a broadcast to watch the programme at their leisure on a PC connected to the internet. The iPlayer differs from any other internet-based video service in certain key respects:

It is funded by the £135.50 annual licence fee which pays for the majority of BBC activities.

  1. The BBC collected 25.1m licence fees in 2006/7. No advertising is required for the iPlayer business model to work.
  2. It is heavily promoted on the BBC broadcast TV channels. The BBC had a 42.6% share of overall UK viewing in 2006/7 and therefore a lot of people already know about the existence of the iPlayer after one month of launch.
  3. it is a high quality service and is designed for watching whole programmes rather than consumption of small vignettes.
This is sharp contrast to the current #1 streaming site, YouTube. Click here to read more