EE customers will be the first to have access to the BBC iPlayer app, allowing them to catch up with their favourite TV shows on the move. With the new app EE customers will be able to use the BBC iPlayer via 4G mobile broadband instead of having to look for a WiFi hotspot or wait until they get home. The high quality video streaming service available on 4G means that viewers will be able to watch programmes such as Top Gear, East Enders, Strictly Come Dancing, and White Queen, without any of the buffering that they may have come to expect from video streaming on 3G.
Demand for Video and Catch-Up TV on 4G
It’s not surprising that EE have been the first to launch the BBC iPlayer app. The 4GEE Mobile Living Index published in August 2013 indicated that the iPlayer was a big hit with their customers. When asked what their favourite TV service was, 29% of EE customers selected BBC iPlayer, while 18% preferred Netflix and 17% stated that Sky Go was their favourite.
EE saw a huge peak in network traffic during the Wimbledon final this year when thousands of customers used the BBC iPlayer on their 4G devices to watch Andy Murray win the title. As it was a hot day many customers would have been streaming the Wimbledon final live to parks and gardens, rather than taking the more traditional approach of gathering in their living rooms. In today’s busy society the idea of being able to watch catch-up TV on the train on the way home from the office, or instantly stream the latest Blockbuster film to your tablet to watch in the back of the car is very appealing.
Overall, when asked what activities they had done more of on their mobile devices since they had started using 4G, 34% of EE customers reported streaming more video content. Traditionally we’ve wanted large screens for watching TV or films, with the average television screen growing rapidly in size over the last couple of decades. However, according to EE, 4G customers are just as happy to watch videos, catch-up TV, and films on the smaller screens of their smartphones and tablets.
The demand for video content in any form on mobile devices is huge. YouTube reports that mobile makes up more than 25% of its global watch time, which equates to more than one billion views a day. The revenue that the video service has generated from mobile ads is reported to have tripled over the past six months. Gunnard Johnson, Google’s Advertising Research Director discusses the way young people, known as Generation C, use You Tube.
“Gen C watches YouTube on all screens, constantly switching between devices. We found that the amount of time Gen C spends watching YouTube on their smartphones is up 74% from last year. In fact, in 2012 the number of Gen C viewers who regularly watch YouTube on smartphones caught up to the number of viewers tuning in on their PCs.”
Whether it’s YouTube, live TV, catch-up TV, or film services, the demand for video streaming is certainly strong. 4G can provide the speed necessary for streaming all types of video, without buffering or interruptions.