BBC iPlayer changes get provisional thumbs-up

No time this month … no problem

by Andy Bassett Jun 12, 2019 at 7:35 PM

  • Movies & TV News


    BBC iPlayer changes get provisional thumbs-up
    After a public consultation earlier this year, the BBC submitted proposed changes to its iPlayer catch up service to Ofcom. Most notably to extend the retention period for content from 30 days to 12 months as standard.
    UK broadcast regulator, Ofcom, has provisionally concluded that these changes can go ahead.

    The BBC believes that extending the catch-up period from 30 days to 12 months (and in some cases longer) will keep their flagship video on-demand service relevant and in-line with audience expectations in a rapidly changing broadcast environment. It seems that Ofcom agrees.

    The regulator undertook a Competition Assessment to examine the impact that such a move would have on similar services provided by other public service broadcasters and concluded that the proposals would indeed create challenges for the competition.

    However, in its view, “the changes could also deliver significant public value over time. They could increase choice and availability of public-service broadcast content, and help ensure the BBC remains relevant in the face of changing viewing habits.”

    Therefore, Ofcom is effectively stating that the benefit to the public outweighs the negative impact on fair and effective competition, though they did add that risks must be mitigated where possible and future changes to the iPlayer will be carefully scrutinised. Affected parties have until 10 July 2019 to argue their case on the regulator's initial conclusions.

    Ofcom’s final decision will be made in August 2019.

    In a statement, the BBC said the changes would "give viewers more value for their licence fee and mean we can better keep up with their growing expectations." The spokesperson added, "We hope Ofcom can now confirm its decision swiftly so we can start giving licence fee payers the BBC iPlayer they want and deserve."

    The provisional confirmation of the iPlayer changes comes only days after the BBC controversially announced that free TV licences for the over 75s are to be scrapped for those not receiving Pension Credits.

    A TV licence is required in order to watch iPlayer.

    With so much content already available on so many platforms, what do AVForums members think of a greater window of opportunity to watch their favourite BBC programmes? Has anyone got the time? And how will Britbox affect iPlayer, will we see some programmes appearing on Britbox first and then moving over to iPlayer? Let us know what you think.

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