Top TV On Demand Service in the UK

With over 1 year of on demand viewable television content from services such as iPlayer, ITV Player, 4 on Demand, Demand 5 and UKTV Play which one is top?

While we cannot rate the television shows subjectively, as one person's view of a show with Jeremy Kyle vs Stephen Fry is different to another persons. We are however able to look objectively at things such as the current total number of shows, average show length, etc for each of the on demand services.

This is where hop.tv comes in. Hop.tv provides a way to search on demand tv shows across iPlayer, ITV Player, 4 on Demand, Demand 5 and UKTV Play. Hop.tv periodically checks with the on demand services to see what shows are available to be watched, then provides a web site to search all the shows from one place. Using the data collected from hop.tv the following information was created.

Number of shows per on demand service

Top TV On Demand

The above graph shows the numbers of shows that are viewable by each on demand service for a given point of time. Looking at the number of shows each service provides 4 on Demand is the clear winner here, which with its catalogue of archived shows and use of short shows such as 4thought.tv keeps it well in front of iPlayer which comes in second, with less than half the number of shows as 4 on Demand. In fact the total of 4 on Demand shows is more than all the other on demand shows service combined. ITV Player and UKTV Play trail the pack with a similar number of shows.

Show time lengths per on demand service

On Demand Services By Average Show Time

The above graph shows average and median show time in minutes that are viewable by each on demand service for a given point of time. Looking at the average and median duration of the programs we see that an ITV Player show will be more likely a longer view than a Demand 5 program which is at the other end of the spectrum with its much shorter viewing times. The shorter viewing times for Demand 5 are due to the proportionally high number children programs that are less than 10 minutes. So Demand 5 could be considered best for childrens tv shows.

Unfortunately UKTV Play does not display tv show duration on their website so we are unable to compare these numbers.

On Demand data

ChannelNumber of showsTotal show times in daysAverage show time in minutesMedian show time in minutes
iPlayer47041123430
ITV Player797295360
4 on Demand98062273324
Demand 53082522411
UKTV Play688

The above table shows the summarised data that was used in this blog.

  • All data was generated from the hop.tv service.
  • The data was extracted from the on demand services web pages over a number of days.
  • Numbers were calculated on 12 th January 2015.
If there any discrepancies in the above numbers please do let us know.
Finally, is this a good or fair way to compare TV on demand services? Is 4 on Demand the best due to more shows, or prehaps ITV Player is better as their programs are longer? We welcome your thoughts..

About Mark Sivill

Mark Sivill has written 14 blogs on fluxgain.

Looking for interesting projects to undertake within IT. Currently focused around cloud technologies such as salesforce and Heroku.