Ofcom’s competition partner Stuart Mcintosh has highlighted concerns that the BBC Executive’s proposed syndication policy might shut out competitors. In a letter to the BBC Trust, released as part of the ongoing Content Syndication Consultation, Mcintosh said the desire for the consumer to have a quality experience was not just about streaming quality, but also the user experience.
“It appears from the draft policy that the intention now is that bespoke development will only be considered when a stakeholder is “unable” to take a standard version. This appears not to allow for the possibility that there might be instances where a better consumer proposition and greater public value could be delivered through bespoke development, with the costs borne by the stakeholder,” says Mcintosh.
According to Mcintosh, the position appears to be at odds with the separate “Provisional conclusions on platform policy”, which suggests requests for bespoke versions “could be considered on an exceptional basis”.
As it stands, Sky would appear to be shut out of carrying a version of the iPlayer as part of its own on demand offer, while Virgin Media will be forced to deliver content over IP, rather than DVB-C, despite the earlier joint work carried out by the BBC and the cableco on a dedicated version.
Mcintosh goes onto highlight problems concerning the treatment of metadata, treated separately from syndication, and the need for platforms to include programme information as part of an overall search feature.