The BBC has launched a public consultation on its plans to improve the BBC iPlayer, Per the BBC, they aim to make the VOD service “a destination in its own right, with box sets, live programming and archive titles that champion quality UK content and offer great programmes for longer”.
Specific proposals include longer windows meaning programmes remain available on the iPlayer for at least 12 months after initial broadcast; making box sets for selected titles available, including said titles’ previous seasons; and making more content from the BBC Archive available on iPlayer.
The plans are in response to viewers who expect BBC programming and box sets to remain on iPlayer longer than 30 days. They also comes amidst a back drop of increased competition from streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play and Now TV – all of whom make their content available for much longer.
“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. These changes are about ensuring we continue to deliver value for money to licence fee payers – and meet expectations of viewers who want to watch full series whenever they choose to”, said the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore. “It’s also important that regulation recognises that there should be a level playing field for public service broadcasters, to ensure British stories are being told for British audiences.”
The public consultation, which closes on February 15th, is aimed at industry stakeholders and is the first formal step in the BBC publishing a Public Interest Test, as required under the Charter for Material Changes to the BBC’s UK Public Services. Following the consultation, the BBC will consider stakeholders responses, before the BBC Board approves the Public Interest Test. The BBC expects to publish the Public Interest Test in Spring 2019. Ofcom will then complete a BBC Competition Assessment before making a decision on whether these changes can go ahead.