More people now watch the ABC’s iView service via iOS apps than via the iView web site. That provides a counter-argument to people who claim we don’t need or use specialised apps for individual services when a web site will do, but it also reminds us that no online provider can put all their eggs in one basket.
A press release from the ABC yesterday noted the change in habits. Last week, 45.2 per cent of iView plays came from iOS devices, with 45.1 per cent coming from the main site. (The remainder presumably come from smart TV systems connected to the network.) The ABC only released its iView app for iPhones in June (there has been an iPad version since 2010), so there has clearly been a pent-up demand to use the service. That demand is particularly evident amongst kids; 15 of the top 20 programs on the iOS viewing list were from the ABC’s Children’s content stream.
It’s easy to see that success as an endorsement of the importance of apps, but iView had already proved very successful even without that option. Adding an app has expanded its reach, but as new devices emerge, the ABC will also need to support those. Its long-term ambition remains to build an HTML5 version of the service, which will cut down on the need to maintain versions for separate platforms. In the short-term, however, singling out iOS rather than Android doesn’t seem to have done it any harm. More than 1.8 million copies of the iOS app have been downloaded, including 309,000 who have accessed the recent iPhone 5 update for the app.