BBC Proposes Major Overhaul Of Digital Service iPlayer To Take On Netflix & Amazon

The BBC is stepping up its fight against the likes of Netflix and Amazon as it looks to secure longer term digital rights for its key shows.

The British public broadcaster has launched a public consultation on its plans to “reinvent” the iPlayer. It is hoping to make its key dramas and comedies as well as non-scripted hits available for at least 12 months after they first air; the majority of shows are currently only available on the catch-up service for 30 days.

It is also hoping to air complete series box sets for selected titles made up of returning series and their previous series and is eyeing more content from the BBC archive.

The BBC is looking to make the “improvements” to the service to “ensure that the BBC continues to deliver value for money for licence fee payers following increased competition from US streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video” as well as British services such as ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play and Sky’s Now TV, all of which can make their content available for much longer.

The BBC must open the public consultation to begin the process, as required under its charter, and it ends on 15 February. Following the consultation, the BBC will consider responses, before the BBC Board decides whether to approve the Public Interest Test, which it expects to public in spring 2019 before regulator Ofcom will then complete a competition assessment.

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. 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.

“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.”

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