UK’s largest commercial broadcaster drops Silverlight for Flash

Following the news last week that Microsoft and UK-based retailer Tesco announced a commercial agreement (no details of the financial arrangements were published) it is interesting to see that one media company who previously adopted Microsoft Silverlight for it’s online TV catch-up service has completely replaced the Silverlight-based player for one built using Adobe Flash Player.

ITV Player

ITV, owner of the UK’s largest commercial television channel in terms of audience share and advertising revenue, had been using Silverlight since the launch of the service, but if the ITV forums and other reports are anything to go by, the use of Silverlight had certainly caused frustration for many visitors to the site trying to use ITV Player.

I have no inside knowledge as to what caused ITV to walk away from Microsoft’s technology and instead use Flash Player to stream programmes such as Coronoation Street, Emmerdale and X Factor on the ITV Player; it seems though that a combination of the reported technical problems experienced by end-users and the relatively low distribution of the the runtime, which required most visitors to install Silverlight, proved to be too much of a barrier for end-user adoption, especially when compared with the successful use of Flash for BBC iPlayer, 4 on-demand and Five TV’s Demand 5 service.

Note: it looks as if ITV are still in the process of updating their site so expect some minor issues whilst they finish the process.