BBC outlines plans to overhaul iPlayer

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The BBC has submitted plans to reinvent the iPlayer, to Ofcom.

Among the proposals are making programmes available for longer and offering more box sets and archive titles.

The BBC wants programmes to be available for at least 12 months after they are first shown. It also said that selected returning titles should be available as full box sets of all series.

It also wants to showcase more archive content.

The corporation said that the changes would create “great public value and will not have an adverse impact on fair and effective competition.”

Instead they will “simply bring BBC iPlayer into line with the industry standard.”

In the submitted proposal, it also warns that imposing limits on the BB CiPlayer “risks undermining the BBC’s ability to continue to innovate and evolve its service in line with changing market norms and audience expectations.”

Supporting the documentation was a survey showing that 63% of those questioned felt it would deliver better value; 66% felt the changes would make BBC iPlayer more appealing; and 63% said the changes would make it appeal to a wider variety of people.

“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,” explained Charlotte Moore, Director, Content.

“We want to make the best UK programmes available to audiences for longer and provide a range of series and box sets for everyone to enjoy. This will bring the BBC iPlayer in line with what other services already offer and give audiences even greater value for their licence fee.

“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 complete a BBC Competition Assessment before it decides whether the changes can go ahead.

“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. Now we’ve received the BBC’s own assessment, we are able to work swiftly and expect to conclude our process by August," said an Ofcom spokesperson.