Christmas 2013 saw a significant number of people give and receive tablets as gifts, whether they were low cost devices, such as Tesco’s Hudl and Aldi’s Medion Lifetab, or the top-of-the-range iPad Air. Regardless of the device’s manufacturer, though, the likelihood is that those who received tablets – or smartphones – for Christmas will have downloaded apps (3 billion
iOS apps were downloaded in December 2013), spent money on these apps (Minecraft developer Mojang made $1 million
in revenue on Christmas Day alone) and caught up on their favourite Christmas TV… The BBC announced at the beginning of 2014, that for the first time in iPlayer history, viewing on tablets overtook viewing on PCs and laptops. On Boxing Day 2013, the BBC saw 2.2 million iPlayer requests from tablets, compared to 2.1 million from computers, and 1.6 million from smartphones (for the record, the most popular programmes on iPlayer over the Christmas period were Mrs Brown’s Boys
and Doctor Who
). Whether this is a lasting trend remains to be seen though, as PC viewing actually overtook tablets again on New Year’s Day, with 2.91 million and 2.65 million viewing requests respectively. Nevertheless, Juniper Research has recently forecast that globally, there will be more than 2 billion mobile and tablet TV/video viewers by 2017. Indeed, it seems likely that on Boxing Day, those who had received tablets as gifts were able to properly get to grips with their device for the first time; Christmas Day browsing and viewing being adversely impacted by the usual excesses in the food and drink department. This meant that while the newly purchased tablets were being charged up for the first time their owners were themselves recharging upon the nation’s sofas. Previously, in April 2013, the BBC had announced that viewing on tablets had overtaken
smartphones, and since then viewing on tablets has continued to rocket. This is unsurprising, however – the tablet device is far better suited to watching the kind of content which BBC iPlayer delivers, given that most shows are 30 minutes to an hour in length. Smartphones, on the other hand, are often used for ‘snacking’ on short YouTube clips and Vine videos (and, before long, Facebook video adverts). Also, the majority of tablets are not bought with 3G/4G connectivity, so users need not fear that they will reach their mobile data limit by watching too much video since they are connected via Wi-Fi. In addition to this, there were 941,000 downloads of the BBC iPlayer mobile and tablet apps over the festive period, only shortly
after the BBC announced its iPlayer app had reached 20 million downloads.