The BBC reveals in its annual report that its interactive television services are now used by half of those able to receive them every month.
According to the Annual Report, “Audiences to BBC interactive services have grown strongly over the year and now reach half the digital population monthly.”
The number of enhanced television or ‘eTV’ services has almost doubled to 190 over the past year.
“However,” the governors add, “we note that the growth in people using interactivity is not keeping up with the growth in its availability. The BBC needs to understand and change this trend if eTV is to reach its full potential.”
According to the BBC’s Interactive Television Tracking Study, monthly reach for BBCi services has risen from 3.3 million users in 2002/2003 to 5.3 million in 2003/2004.
This figure relates to 24/7 digital text services including news, sport and weather, and includes users of 16 years of age and over. It only covers satellite usage as the BBC says no reliable figures are available for other platforms.
Enhanced television services for specific programmes such as Wimbledon had a monthly reach of 2.2 million users according to BARB data.
The Bitesize revision service was used by around 400,000 users via interactive television in the 2003 exam period and the service as a whole reached 69% of its target audience of 15–16 year olds in 2003.
The BBCi brand is now restricted to interactive television, after the online service was simply rebranded as bbc.co.uk.
Monthly reach of the online service has risen from 7 million to 8.9 million users according to the BMRB monthly research, accounting only for those over 15 years old. The news section is the most widely used area, reaching 26% of the online population.
The BBC’s published expenditure on interactive television was £15.3 million, up from £9.5 million in the previous year, while spending on online services dropped correspondingly from £75 million to £66.7 million.