Following the release of a specialist television guide service over in Japan for Wii owners, which allows owners of the system to hook up to their online connection and easily find out what there is available for viewing that night or later in the week, Nintendo has now teamed up with the British Broadcasting Corporation to offer something special for UK Wii consumers.
It was revealed earlier today that Nintendo has entered into an agreement with the BBC to provide television via the Wii console. Erik Huggers, the BBC’s Group Controller for Future Media and Technology, unveiled an allegiance between his company and Nintendo UK whereby the two will offer the popular BBC iPlayer service via the Nintendo Wii’s online connection. Speaking during a a keynote talk over in Cannes, France at the annual MipTV-Milia conference, it was announced that Wii owners will, from today, be able to join the 17.2 million people that watched programmes during March using iPlayer by streaming their favourite BBC programmes direct to their TVs using the console.
“Working with Nintendo marks another exciting milestone for BBC iPlayer. It underlines our commitment to reaching new audiences by making BBC iPlayer available on as many platforms as possible. The BBC’s catch-up TV service can now be accessed on an increasing number of different platforms – from the web and portable devices to gaming consoles. It will shortly be available on TV.
“The demographics of the Wii are very exciting for us. Nintendo has helped reach a broader range of people with the Wii.
“If you want to get on the PlayStation or Xbox, they want control of the look, the feel and the experience; they want it done within their shop, and their shop only.”
- Erik Huggers, the BBC’s Group Controller for Future Media and Technology.
Huggers’ final comment there was in relation to how it is highly unlikely we will be seeing a similar move taking place in relation to a deal with Sony and Microsoft. It was simply easier to deal with Nintendo and its Wii due to the system using a standard Internet browser, the Opera-powered free download.
“This exciting alliance with the BBC is yet another way in which Nintendo is looking to broaden the market for its products by offering compelling and relevant content to families. BBC iPlayer on Wii will offer Wii owners another reason to turn their console on everyday and adds to the already established non gaming content on Wii that includes news and weather channels and an internet browser.”
- David Yarnton, General Manager, Nintendo UK.
Once the iPlayer service for Wii is live, a message will be sent to all Wii consoles in the UK currently connected to the Internet to notify them of the availability of the iPlayer service. Existing Wii owners will then be able to access BBC iPlayer via the Internet Channel on the Wii main menu. New users may be required to download the Wii Internet Channel. Once installed, users simply click through to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer, and search for the programme they want to watch.
“It is the first time that Nintendo has signed up to make any broadcaster’s programmes available over the Wii, although it is possible to access a range of multimedia content via the £179.99 device. Nintendo is also in discussions to broaden its range of television content.
“BBC programmes will be available only inside the UK, as the agreement only covers the part of the Corporation’s activities funded by the licence fee. However, it would not be technically difficult to introduce international and commercial versions of the iPlayer, if there was a demand to do so.”
- Dawn Paine, the UK marketing manager for the company.
As part of the ongoing BBC iPlayer homepage enhancements, there is now a section titled ‘BBC iPlayer Latest’. This section sits at the bottom of the homepage will detail all the ways in which users can access BBC iPlayer. BBC iPlayer is only available to UK Licence Fee payers, and the partnership with Nintendo to offer the BBC iPlayer via the Nintendo Wii is a UK-only initiative. This is currently in beta phase and further iterations are anticipated later this year. The BBC has today announced latest performance figures for BBC iPlayer for the first three months of the year: over and that 42 million programmes have been accessed, since the Christmas marketing launch. The BBC exists to “enrich people’s lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain”. It provides a wide range of “distinctive programmes and services for everyone, free of commercial interests and political bias”. They include television, radio, national, local, children’s, educational, language and other services for key interest groups. The BBC is financed by a TV licence paid by households. It does not have to serve the interests of advertisers, or produce a return for shareholders.
Stay tuned for further updates…