BBC Launches Public Consultation to Help Shape iPlayer Future

Could this be the start of the BBC’s version of Netflix?

by Andy Bassett Jan 16, 2019 at 1:06 PM

  • The BBC has to put its latest set of proposals to ‘reinvent’ the iPlayer service to the court of public opinion - so says regulator Ofcom.
    The consultation will examine suggested changes, which include keeping content available for at least 12 months after initial broadcast, having complete series box-sets for selected titles made up of new returning series plus their previous series, as well as providing more archive content.

    So, under the proposals, if the newest series of Poldark is to be available on the iPlayer, then so too will its previous series. This will provide a comprehensive catch-up service to new viewers who missed earlier series and puts the iPlayer on a footing more equal to Sky’s box-set provision.

    The BBC also said it would “continue to look at” the amount of content it commissions specifically for iPlayer as viewing habits evolve.

    As online services have become part and parcel of broadcasters’ toolkits, viewing habits have changed and all broadcasters have to be cognisant of their audiences’ viewing requirements. The BBC is no different in having to decide how best to provide content to its viewers in the way that viewers want it and says in its document that it is proposing the changes because it “must adapt to reflect the expectations and demands of licence fee payers.”

    Charlotte Moore, director, BBC Content said: “We know that in the future BBC iPlayer will be the main way many people will want to watch the BBC. It already is for many younger viewers.”

    The broadcaster notes that other UK players such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 had already taken steps to improve their on-demand offerings, with ITV planning an SVOD service alongside improvements to ITV Hub and Channel 4 making a wide range of box-sets available on its service. The broadcaster said that the current limit of 30 days for catch-up content “needs to be improved to match the expectations and needs of our audiences” and that it risked “becoming irrelevant” if it failed to adapt.

    The BBC’s regulator, Ofcom, considers the outlined proposals a material change to the BBC’s UK Public Services and requires The BBC Board to initiate a Public Interest Test - an evidence-based process used to assess the public value of a change and its impact on competition. This consultation forms part of that process and will run from 7th Jan to 15th Feb 2019 with the proposals due for publication in the spring.

    It wasn't that long ago that programmes only hung around for 7 days so how do these proposals sound? Let us know in the thread.

    If you are interested in taking part in the public consultation, there is more information here:

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