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BBC: mobile viewing figures are fine

Watching TV on your mobile: will it be popular?
Watching TV on your mobile: will it be popular?

The BBC has moved to quash rumours the recent trials of streaming its mobile channels over 3G networks were a disappointment.

The BBC has moved for a public consultation for permission to begin streaming its channels over 3G, and published the results of its findings over the recent 12 month trial with mobile networks, which concluded in April 2008.

Included in the proposal were figures which showed few people actually used the BBC channels, peaking at 580 for daily usage in June 2007.

The BBC acknowledged this was a very low level of usage, but spoke to Techradar in a bid to place the findings in context:

"The BBC's 3G TV and Radio trial was undertaken in order to establish patterns of usage and the extent of audience demand for mobile TV via 3G," said a BBC spokesperson.

"The BBC management's proposal clearly acknowledges that mobile television viewing currently remains a niche activity.

"The purpose of the Trust's public consultation is to invite comment prior to reaching a decision on the way forward."


Offering the channels would not be difficult for the BBC either, as it just needs to format its shows to fit the mobile screen, and has no plans to commission any shows specifically for handsets.

As such, the proposal also said "the overall cost of delivering this proposal will not be significant", so could feasibly be undertaken without incurring the same costs as the BBC iPlayer, which required a fairly large investment but has since soared in popularity.