The BBC Executive will be required to pay full regard to the need to make its content available to the overwhelming majority of platforms and devices through a standard version of the iPlayer, according to the final version of the BBC’s new syndication policy, published today by the BBC Trust.
The BBC’s internal regulator said a standard version of the iPlayer or any future syndication product, should be made available, with possible variations from the standard version seen as a rarity.
Under the policy the licence fee payer will be expected to be able to quickly and easily discover BBC content on third party platforms and devices, either through direct links to the content, or third party navigation.
Editorial control will be expected so that the viewer can clearly identify BBC content. It will also be expected that the content is available free of charge.
“What we now have is a policy which recognises that syndication through the iPlayer – or a future on-demand service – provides benefits for audiences and best serves the principles we have set out,” said Diane Coyle, vice chairman of the Trust. “But it includes some flexibility in light of changing technology and audience expectations. In special circumstances where the standard iPlayer is not the best solution, the new policy enables the BBC to enter into special arrangements with syndication partners”.
There were criticisms of earlier versions of the policy from commercial players such as BSkyB, which still believes the policy to be too onerous, but has successfully negotiated an agreement under the existing policy for the BBC iPlayer to be added to Sky Anytime+ later this year.