You will soon need to sign in to use BBC iPlayer
VOD News | On 27, Sep 2016
You will soon need to sign into a registered account to use BBC iPlayer, the BBC announced today.
From 2017, all viewers and listeners will need to sign in to use BBC iPlayer, BBC iPlayer Radio and other BBC mobile apps. The change is to “make its content, products and services more personalised and tailored to all viewers and listeners”, the corporation has said.
“A more personal BBC means helping viewers and listeners find more of what they like through more personalised experiences, and – using data – the BBC will be better informed to make decisions around future programming for everyone.”
There are concerns, though, that this is part of a step towards cracking down on those using BBC iPlayer without a TV Licence. Indeed, at the start of this month, new rules came into force that closed a loophole allowing people watching programmes online after they had been broadcast without a licence. Now, viewers must have a TV Licence to watch any content on BBC iPlayer, whether it’s live or on-demand.
The BBC, though, has dismissed the idea that the two are linked.
Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio, who is working on the plans, told The Guardian: “Some of you might be thinking that this is driven by the changes to the so-called ‘iPlayer loophole’… It’s not – it’s about giving you a better BBC. As we said earlier this month, we’ll carry on using our existing enforcement processes and techniques which we believe to be adequate and appropriate.”
A spokesman added: “There are no current plans for passwords to be used for enforcement but that could change.”
The overhaul to the Beeb’s user account system begins this week, with a new sign-in system being rolled out that is designed to be “more robust and secure”.
Audiences, meanwhile, certainly seem happy with registering to personalise their BBC streaming: over 7 million people have signed into or registered with the BBC since last year’s introduction of user accounts, with 2.8 million people subscribing to sports alerts through the summer and 70 million Netflix-style programme recommendations served to users on BBC iPlayer.
The BBC, meanwhile, has said that it will “only collect data needed to give audiences a better experience, improve its services and fulfil its responsibilities as a public service”, will “let users manage or delete their BBC account at any time” and will “never sell personal details to anyone and only use data commercially when people are using commercial BBC services, like BBC Store”.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said in a statement: “I want everyone to get the very best from the BBC. By learning about what you want and like we can take you to more of the great programmes you love, stories you might be interested in and content you might otherwise never have discovered.”