BBC Receives Regulatory Approval to Extend iPlayer Catchup Window

Variety | 8/1/2019 | Robert Mitchell
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The BBC has received approval from British media regulator Ofcom to go ahead with plans to extend the time that content is available on its streaming service, the BBC iPlayer. Under the plan, first proposed in April, the catchup service will offer content for 12 months instead of just 30 days.

Announcing its decision Thursday, Ofcom said the changes “could deliver significant public value,” suggesting that they would “ensure the BBC remains relevant” in a TV and streaming world increasingly dominated by Netflix and other global players.

Move - Content - Months - Concerns - Number

The contentious move, which would also see some content made available for longer than the new standard 12 months, has drawn concerns from a number of the BBC’s pubcaster and commercial broadcast rivals as well as some producers. It was subject to a competition assessment by Ofcom as required by the BBC Charter and Agreement. The regulator had previously given provisional approval in June but said it would continue to consult stakeholders before issuing a final conclusion.

That decision came Thursday. “We have concluded that the BBC’s proposed changes to BBC iPlayer could deliver significant public value over time,” Ofcom said. “They could increase choice and availability of public-service broadcast content, and help ensure the BBC remains relevant in the face of changing viewing habits.”

Services - Netflix - Amazon - Viewers - BBC

Spurred by services such as Netflix and Amazon, “what viewers expect from the BBC is changing, too, and this is particularly the case for young people,” Ofcom said. Among programming that will be available beyond a 12-month window, all children’s programming will be available for five years.

However, Ofcom said its approval is subject to certain conditions and guidance because it remains concerned about the competitive challenges created, especially for other pubcasters’ streaming services and “potential U.K....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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