Ofcom has published details of a new licence for the BBC, which includes new requirements around BBC iPlayer, Sounds and website.
The communications regulator said that the licence had been designed to “firmly hold the BBC to account on delivering its remit while enabling it to adapt and innovate in how it delivers content to viewers and listeners”.
There are new requirements for the BBC’s online services – BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds and the BBC website, while there are no fewer than 70 quotas to ensure the BBC delivers a minimum volume of content such as news and current affairs, and original UK programmes.
The licence also places transparency as a “core obligation” amid concerns over a lack of clarity and detail around recent changes to services.
“We’ve been particularly disappointed by the BBC’s lack of detail and clarity around planned changes to its services, which has led to a lot of uncertainty for audiences and industry. Our strict new reporting rules will ensure the BBC is held to a higher level of public accountability, requiring it to clearly explain its plans before going ahead, as well as evaluating whether they work,” said Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s Group Director for Broadcasting and Online Content.
Ofcom has said it will closely monitor the new BBC News service that will combine the current BBC World News with the domestic BBC News channel, warning that it would be monitoring the content, and audience reaction, and was prepared to introduce further licence conditions if necessary.
In a statement released to Broadband TV News, a BBC spokesperson said: “We welcome these changes which reflect the need for the BBC’s regulation to evolve for the digital age so we can best serve all audiences with impartial news and distinctive UK content in a fast-changing global market.
“We are committed to transparency and will set out how we plan to deliver for audiences in the year ahead in our upcoming Annual Plan.”