The BBC is opening up the BBC iPlayer to third party channels. The sharing of metadata from ITV, Channel 4, S4C, Five, SeeSaw and the MSN video player means that programmes from ‘rival’ channels can now be accessed directly from the BBC iPlayer website.
Users can use either the iPlayer’s schedule widget or the search function that links directly to the playback page of the given partner. Programme information is taken from the partner website on a regular basis.
The plan was originally announced last May, but the iPlayer team spent additional time working on the project to ensure a more seamless experience.
In January the BBC committed not to use the iPlayer as an aggregator of on demand content, instead agreeing that the iPlayer be reshaped into a unified television offer, bringing together TV channels, programme information and live and on-demand content. So rather than add the content to the iPlayer itself, the portal instead acts as a signpost to where it can be found.
The sharing of metadata and appearance of content within the iPlayer is open to any VOD provider that has content that has previously been transmitted on a channel that holds an Ofcom licence.
Sky has for some time included content from the BBC iPlayer in the online version of the Sky Player.
Pointing towards ‘rival’ services is nothing new for the BBC. Its news site already suggests alternatives to its own content.