BBC Trust approves proposals for paid on-demand service BBC Store
James R | On 05, Mar 2014
The BBC Trust has approved proposals to launch BBC Store, a new online commercial service for audiences to buy and keep BBC programmes.
BBC Store will allow users to buy new programmes and a selection of content from the BBC archives, on a download-to-own basis. It is distinct from BBC iPlayer, which will remain a free catch-up service funded by the licence fee, and will be managed by BBC Worldwide, the broadcaster’s commercial arm.
The move is a natural step forward from BBC iPlayer, which enjoyed a record number of downloads from viewers last month, as the on-demand platform becomes an increasingly conventional method for viewing BBC content. With licences expiring within a week, or month, of linear TV broadcasts, though, audiences are left with no streaming option to download programmes permanently.
While the proposal is for a commercial service, it will involve changes to BBC iPlayer, one of the UK public services. As a result, in addition to the commercial service approval, the BBC Trust carried out an assessment to establish whether the proposed changes to BBC iPlayer would be significant enough to require a Public Value Test – the regulatory process for any proposed new BBC service. The Trust sought advice from Ofcom, which identified some areas of potential impact from the changes to iPlayer. As suggested by them, the Trust conducted further analysis in each of these areas and concluded that the proposed changes did not trigger the requirement for a Public Value Test.
Suzanna Taverne, lead trustee on the assessment, said: “The BBC needs to respond to significant changes in the way audiences now buy programmes. The creation of BBC Store will enable it to do so, and to release a greater selection of classic shows from the BBC archive.
“In considering BBC Store, the Trust conducted a robust assessment and sought the advice of external parties. It concluded that BBC Store is a worthwhile commercial service that supplements what the BBC makes available through the licence fee and promises to bring value not only to audiences but also to the wider creative industries.”
“We’re pleased the BBC Trust have approved proposals for BBC Store and recognise the benefits it brings licence fee payers, those who want to own BBC programmes and the creative industry as a whole,” commented the BBC Executive.
“We know people want to buy DVDs of their favourite BBC shows and BBC Store is a natural progression in a digital age.
“Along with our proposal to extend catch-up on BBC iPlayer from 7 to 30 days, this is great news for fans of BBC shows. We will share more details about next steps at a later date.”