Russel Brand’s interview with Ed Miliband on YouTube channel ‘The Trews’ has now had 1.2 million views six days after it was released. I wrote about Brand’s intention to disrupt traditional news and the challenge for public service broadcasters in particular to innovate with news forms that are ‘of the internet’ not ‘of tv’. The BBC’s key weapon for the internet is the iPlayer – the iPlayer does little more than play out TV and Radio shows as they were broadcast other than allowing very limited access to archive material. If Brands interview was on the iPLayer it would disappear in a week or two as the BBC rotates material off.
The BBC is relatively open in an old school way about the iPlayer’s performance, publishing data that suits it a long way short of 5* open data (Tim Berners-Lee would not approve i think) – the table below is from the March 2015 performance report. This shows that Brand’s interview would already be in the top five and, within a month is likely to be in the top three. Brand is able to access this audience with a free YouTube channel, leveraging Google’s multi-billion investment, some wonky kit and a crazed ego. Several other videos on his channel that haven’t had the same mainstream media attention as Miliband have similar or more audience figures.
It is arguable that a more valid comparison would be the BBC news website figures – how well would a video perform there? The web domain receives tens of millions of views a day. But Brand is making something akin to a programme and playing out the video, iPlayer-like. Also the BBC isn’t as keen to share detailed regular performance figures about its website as it is with the iPlayer monthly performance packs (at least as far as i can find out – can someone point me to something similar?).
This is the first time I have looked at the iPlayer performance pack – the data suggests that the iPlayer is a mature product now with use plateauing. This must be a strategic concern for the BBC as they approach charter review apparently without any other big ideas – I discount the DG’s speech about MyBBC as something they should have done five years ago, based on a false premise (that people want to spend this much time in the BBC digital space) and looks thin now:
‘We’ll give you personalised recommendations on the iPlayer and homepage. We’ll recommend news and sports stories just for you. We’ll give you your own BBC app, which will remember all your favourite programmes, artists, music, interests, DJs and sports teams. All in one place….This is the start of a real transformation – the myBBC revolution. How to reinvent public service broadcasting through data. But we’ll always be doing it our way – not telling you what customers like you bought, but what citizens like you would love to watch and need to know.’
BBC iPlayer Top 20 TV episodes (all), Total requests per ep.
|Top Gear Series 22 Episode 6||2,171,000|
|Top Gear Series 22 Episode 7||1,482,000|
|The Voice UK Series 4 Battles 1 Episode 8||1,224,000|
|Poldark Episode 1||1,192,000|
|The Voice UK Series 4 Battles 2 Episode 9||1,142,000|
|The Great Comic Relief Bake Off Series 2 Episode 4||1,049,000|
|Louis Theroux By Reason of Insanity: Part 1||1,044,000|
|Poldark Episode 3||980,000|
|Waterloo Road Series 10 Episode 19||930,000|
|Poldark Episode 2||911,000|
|The Voice UK Series 4 Live Semi-Final Episode 14||875,000|
|Waterloo Road Series 10 Episode 20||855,000|
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