The BBC wants to maintain shows on the iPlayer for at least 12 months after they are first shown; selected shows would be given a full boxed set of all series; while there would be more content taken from the BBC archive.
Proposals sent to Ofcom under the regulation of the BBC include the results of the Public Interest Test, which concluded:
- The proposed changes will create great public value and will not have an adverse impact on fair and effective competition.
- The changes simply bring BBC iPlayer into line with the industry standard.
- To impose limits on BBC iPlayer – as there are today – risks undermining the BBC’s ability to continue to innovate and evolve its service in line with changing market norms and audience expectations.
The BBC backed its proposals with a survey that suggested 63% thought the changes would deliver better value for the licence fee.
“Audience expectations have changed dramatically, viewers are now used to being able to watch what they want, when they want, and they expect much more from BBC iPlayer,” said Charlotte Moore, director, Content. “The media landscape is changing rapidly, and global media giants are increasingly dominant. We hope Ofcom can consider these plans quickly and enable us to deliver what UK audiences want and expect.”
Ofcom will now launch a BBC Competition Assessment to determine whether the public value of the BBC’s proposed changes justifies any potential harm to other popular, competing services.
An Ofcom spokesperson told Broadband TV News: “We recognise that the BBC needs to innovate and keep pace with viewers’ needs. Under the BBC’s Charter, our role is to check whether these changes might harm popular, competing services like ITV Hub or All 4 – and if so, whether that’s justified by the value to BBC viewers.”
The regulator wants views from interested or affected parties by 10 May 2019. A final decision is expected by August.