I was interested to read that January was the iPlayer's biggest month yet. And the BBC's data (Guardian PDF) equally makes interesting reading. The programmes that were particularly popular on the iPlayer are not very different from those on broadcast television: Top Gear, Doctor Who, Gavin and Stacey are all massively popular programmes. But look, at number five, Tracey Beaker Returns, which went out at 5.15 on CBBC, then gets another 565,000 viewers through iPlayer (I can't even find viewing figures for the broadcast), making it more viewed on iPlayer than say the most popular Eastenders' episode, or the first episode of the new series of Heroes. That my friends, is the long tail in action.
Similarly, I spent part of this evening watching this episode of Grand Designs on SeeSaw, a new VOD offering. That's an episode from 1998. The quality isn't brilliant (I wouldn't want to blow it up any bigger than my laptop screen), but it's a lot smoother than 4OD.
I was at a BBC new media day a couple of years ago, where the speaker made the bold claim that before long most people's primary screens would be their computers. One member of my department literally stood up to dispute it. I didn't have the heart to tell him that mine already was. And reading this - "Few people would choose to watch television on a laptop or mobile instead of a flatscreen HD set, sitting comfortably" - in the Guardian made me laugh too.
My poor flatscreen HD-ready set barely gets switched on, I watch 90% of television (including DVDs) on my laptop for the following reasons: 1) it's on iPlayer or another VOD service, 2) I've downloaded it, 3) it's very convenient.
To be honest, getting up and switching the telly on is a bit of a faff compared with picking up the computer. And don't get me started with plugging the computer into the telly - it's rarely worth it. Although I am planning on plugging the Wii into my telly at some point for iPlayer usage - it's only so I can check my email without interrupting my programme.
And I'm not really that much of an early adopter, I'm not even that young, and I know I'm not alone among people my age. Telly people need to stop thinking in terms of the box in the corner, and start thinking of the box on your lap, especially with the iPad coming. Those kids watching Tracy Beaker on iPlayer instead of CBBC are the same kids who won't bother buying a telly in ten years time, because why would you? Multiplatform is going to be the only way to reach them.