By Ben Simmons
The BBC and Microsoft today announced the launch of the BBC’s popular video-on-demand service, BBC iPlayer, on Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE free platform. BBC iPlayer is now available on every major gaming platform in the UK.
The launch means the BBC is the only UK content provider to make its programmes available for free to all Xbox 360 users in the UK. Users will be able to catch up on all the BBC programmes they know and love in a familiar, easy to use BBC iPlayer experience.
Xbox 360 users with Kinect will benefit from enhanced functionality. For the first time it is possible for BBC iPlayer users to discover and play programmes using hand gestures and voice recognition.
The launch on Xbox LIVE today, together with the launch on Sky later this year, will bring the service to millions of new users via the TV and builds on a substantial history of industry partnerships. BBC iPlayer is now on over 450 platforms and devices including Virgin Media, BT Vision, FreeSat, Freeview, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and hundreds of mobile phones, tablets, and internet-connected TVs.
Daniel Danker, BBC General Manager, Programmes & On-Demand, said: “Xbox is hugely successful in the UK. Given the BBC’s goal to reach its entire audience, I’m particularly excited that the BBC will be bringing iPlayer to all Xbox users at no extra cost as part of Xbox LIVE’s free membership.”
“As we continue our work to make BBC iPlayer as simple as possible, we’re also excited to experiment with natural user interfaces made possible with Kinect, including voice and gesture control. We believe it’s early days for these experiences, but see a great future working with partners such as Microsoft on innovations like these.”
Stephen McGill, Director of Xbox and Entertainment for Microsoft, said: “We are delighted that BBC iPlayer is now available on Xbox LIVE. Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the UK and globally last year, while Xbox LIVE is one of the UK’s leading comprehensive VOD entertainment services on TVs. The addition of BBC iPlayer takes the service to the next level. We offer a formidable line-up of the best TV and entertainment — both live and on-demand – from providers such as Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, Netflix, LOVEFiLM, Blinkbox, MSN, YouTube and many others.
“The way people interact with entertainment content is changing. Xbox LIVE is the only service in the world where you can search, discover and control TV, movies, video and music using voice and gesture via the power and magic of Kinect.”
The BBC has seen 433 million requests on TV* devices in 2011. This means one in four iPlayer requests are on the TV*. At this rate, the BBC projects that by 2015, over 50% of requests will be via TV* devices.