Ofcom has told the BBC that its plans to place its TV and radio services on the Internet could have a “negative effect” on its commercial rivals. The regulator fears that although the BBC’s involvement would encourage public interest in the services it also risks reducing the amount of commercial investment.
The BBC’s plans for on demand television, including the Internet-based iPlayer, would offer viewers a 7-day catch up service and live streaming of its linear channels. Although the BBC already makes a considerable amount of its content available over the Internet, the iPlayer would bring them together under a single umbrella.
The regulator was particularly concerned with the concept of ‘series stacking’, where a viewer would be able to access all the episodes of a particular programme until the series had completed, fearing it could become a direct substitute for commercial services.
Ofcom has passed its findings to the BBC Trust, which is currently discussing the proposals as part of the Public Value Test.