BBC denies plans for iPlayer app for Windows Phone

On Friday, we reported on news from The Inquirer, which claimed that a Nokia spokesperson had informed them that a BBC iPlayer app was in development for Windows Phone, and that it would be available for Nokia’s Lumia handsets in “a few weeks”. If you’re a Windows Phone user and a fan of the BBC’s incredible TV and radio programming, you’ll no doubt have been enormously excited by this news.

But when we contacted the BBC Press Office to verify the story and hopefully probe for a few more details, we were disappointed to learn that the Beeb isn’t working on anything of the sort.

The BBC’s Ian Walker told Neowin that “BBC iPlayer is already on over 500 platforms and devices, including Virgin Media, BT Vision, FreeSat, Freeview, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and hundreds of mobile phones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs. We are always looking at new and existing platforms to bring BBC iPlayer to, but we have no plans to launch a BBC iPlayer native app in Windows Phone Marketplace in the immediate future.”


BBC iPlayer is available on Microsoft's Xbox 360 - but not yet on Windows Phone.

The BBC hasn’t yet committed to bringing any of its apps to the Windows Phone ecosystem, despite the availability of BBC News, BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer apps on other mobile platforms. The BBC is currently in the midst of extensive cost-cutting across all departments, and while Windows Phone users will no doubt be frustrated by this news, the practicalities of tightened purse-strings are something that most of us can at least relate to in these austere times.

Source and lower image: British Broadcasting Corporation

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8 Comments

It's understandable really. WP only has 2% marketshare or less. I can't see how the BBC could justify the develop costs for such a small audience. As you said, costs are having to be scaled back. I'd rather get more programming content than spending precious resources targeting every tiny platform.

simplezz said,
It's understandable really. WP only has 2% marketshare or less. I can't see how the BBC could justify the develop costs for such a small audience. As you said, costs are having to be scaled back. I'd rather get more programming content than spending precious resources targeting every tiny platform.

Content like "Cash in the Attic"? There's more than enough junk that the BBC waste their money on and there's no reason why they shouldn't invest in one of the few mobile platforms that is growing and starting to grow quickly.

Oh well, once again, too good to be true for us WP users. I guess we'll have to make do with the TopGear app which is pretty well done and has excellent quality videos.

How can a platform be expected to grow and flourish on word of mouth alone?!
The WP ecosystem needs developers to take a chance or risk and make their application(s) for the platform.
IF the Windows Marketplace had all the same apps that Android/Apple App Stores had, there wouldn't be a problem with people picking up a Windows Phone instead of an Android handset. Notice I didn't say iPhone as people will buy them regardless because they are shiney and magpies are attracted to shiney things.

yeoo_andy_ni said,
How can a platform be expected to grow and flourish on word of mouth alone?!
The WP ecosystem needs developers to take a chance or risk and make their application(s) for the platform.
IF the Windows Marketplace had all the same apps that Android/Apple App Stores had, there wouldn't be a problem with people picking up a Windows Phone instead of an Android handset. Notice I didn't say iPhone as people will buy them regardless because they are shiney and magpies are attracted to shiney things.

It's a shame you had to invalidate your own comment with that final sentence.

Is this a dismissal of WP7 or insight to a future direction that Microsoft has also been pushing in the industry.

A mobile RIA HTML5 video/audio site would negate the need for 100s of device specific releases.

WP7 already has better HTML5 content support than iPhone and Android, which people seem to not realize. Like the Pandora debate not long ago, which is silly as the Web Site on WP7 IE9 integrates and works better than many of the dedicated Pandora Apps.

Why not just keep moving to HTML5 sites, and stop creating 'Apps' for every platform?

If I was a company that could provide my content using HTML5 in a modern browser, I would HALT all dedicated App production, and just promote the web site as an 'App'.

Again like Pandora, just pin Pandora on WP7 and you don't need a dedicated App, as IE9 and WP7 realize HTML5 audio is playing, adds it to the inherent media player, and keeps the web site running as an App and the Music/Audio streaming without the need for an App.

This is the whole point of HTML5 is the move to RIA and no longer having a need for device specific Apps. And the weird part is Microsoft is pushing HTML5 harder than anyone else at the moment, as they include it as part of WinRT, and will be a part of WP8 and is already a part of IE9 on WP7 and Win7.

IE9 changed things for Microsoft and the world, as it took the concept of an HTML engine from a document/content display technology to a content compile/run technology.

This embraces the HTML5 concepts at being 'RIA' (Apps) and processing them like Apps instead of displaying them like documents.

Windows 8 and WInRT moves HTML5 as an Equal in the App concept, and hopefully when other browsers start treating HTML5 content like code instead of a document we will see more websites moving in this direction.

Right now RIA as websites have issues, as Chrome/Firefox can't keep consistent performance in higher quality models. This is why 'demonstration' RIA projects are mainly IE9/IE10 based, as the compile/run model that IE now uses keeps the performance consistent.

Look at IE9 on WP7, it runs RIA HTML5 content at desktop speeds for graphics. When you have Chrome running 1-2fps on a low end desktop, this is a problem. Which will eventually make IE the new king or slow the progression of HTML5 RIA because non-IE browsers can't provide a consistent performance level.

So instead of going, give us a WP7 App, let's start cheering on the BBC and others to provide an awesome HTML5 website, that runs great on the desktop and great on WP7, and hopefully someday will run great on iPhone and Android in the browser too.

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