The BBC Store has enjoyed an “overwhelmingly positive” launch weekend.
The site, which was unveiled to the UK last week, allows users to buy and download programmes from the BBC archives, including old and new programmes.
Dan Phelan, Head of Communications, UK, at BBC Worldwide, couldn’t confirm any figures, but said that there has been “huge interest” from audiences in the site’s first few days.
“We want BBC Store to do for digital ownership what BBC iPlayer did for catch up,” he added. “BBC Store will be a success if it grows this market.”
The store is already taking steps forward, with the arrival of a new Windows 10 app, , which also includes exclusive access to a digital box set of The Fast Show. The collection, chosen by Paul and Charlie, includes The Fast Show at 21 in which writer and presenter Danny Wallace interviews Paul and Charlie in front of a live audience about the creation and runaway success of one of British comedy’s best-loved sketch shows. Once they’ve downloaded the app Windows 10 users will be sent a link to a page on BBC Store from which they’ll be able to buy the exclusive Fast Show package.
The Fast Show at 21 will also be available to all BBC Store customers from midday to midnight GMT on Sunday 15th November on YouTube and BBC Store.
Apps for other devices will be launched “in the coming weeks”.
The growth of BBC Store, though, will not impact the Beeb’s existing digital strategy: the broadcast will continue to license programmes for subscription platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon.
Did the BBC ever consider its own subscription VOD service for older, niche titles? Phelan says no.
Similarly, the BBC will also continue its existing partnerships with other transaction VOD services, such as iTunes and blinkbox.
“We’ll continue to make new BBC programmes available on other platforms; they won’t be exclusive to BBC Store,” confirms Phelan. “However, we will have lots of exclusive programmes on BBC Store because only a small percentage of the BBC Television Archive has ever been available for audiences to buy.”
Indeed, BBC Store is an opportunity to release niche, older titles that might not have sold enough physical copies previously to cover production costs. Phelan says that is a central part of the service, alongside making substantial returns to the BBC over the coming five years amid funding pressures.
“We’re able to begin opening up the incredible BBC Television Archive to make a far greater range of programmes available to audiences than the current DVD market would support.”