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BBC iPlayer - Extended Availability Consultation

Redesigned service to launch in 2020. (March 2018)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
Neil Jones Founding member
The BBC's full iPlayer expansion proposals have been put out to consultation. At least 12 months of content in most genres will be offered if approved. Further enhancements to include more box sets and significantly greater archive content have also been proposed.

Fascinating, Amazon has nearly 25k viewing hours to see compared to iPlayer which only has less than 5k. Genome suggests the BBC has 30% of its listings physically which amounts to over 1 million hours of output. So if they really wanted to (subjects to rights and budget and time and everything) the BBC could wipe the floor with Amazon in terms of offerings.

Presumably the various ITV archives that ITV plc control and have access to is fairly substantial after 60 years and they could probably inflate their offerings too to match Now and Netflix.
Quality over quantity though. I suspect much of the content on Amazon and Netflix rarely gets viewed, essentially getting the equivalent of a zero rating.
Neil Jones Founding member
One man's quality is another man's junk. It just goes to show though the large range of choice around today. Amazon can tie all their catalogue into IMDB since they've owned that for the last 20 years and at least have some idea of what's being viewed.

Some Amazon stuff gets syndicated to other networks around the world which presumably offsets the cost of this service since they only charge £80 a year for it under Prime (some stuff is extra). Netflix presumably works the same way since they charge £72 a year for it. When you look at the costs and everything its hardly surprising these services have taken off, coupled with cheap fast internet.
DVB Cornwall
It’s also interesting to note that although no longer being ‘top tiled’ (on Roku devices) that the UHD feeds, as at last evening anyway, of Dynasties are available still way beyond the initial cutoff date. It seems that if you’ve already watched one or more episode, revisiting the series accesses the UHD versions still.

36 days later

I’m not sure if this is the most appropriate thread to discuss this, but I didn’t want to start a new one unnecessarily.

Season Six of A Place to Call Home began today on BBC One, and will run each weekday until Friday 22nd February. I see that all ten episodes are already available to view on BBC iPlayer. Although labelled correctly, they appear in a random order. Is it common practice for all episodes of an series to be made available online before they have been transmitted? I can see how this would be popular with those who like to “binge watch” but it gives the impression the BBC are not bothered about “live” viewing figures in this mid-afternoon timeslot. It’s also potentially confusing that the episodes are not presented online in chronological order, particularly as this is a serialised drama.
Neil Jones Founding member
Presumably because A Place to Call Home is an import from Australia it has a different iPlayer policy. Or maybe its an error and it shouldn't have been released? Perhaps flag it up?

However there is a big bold block of text on the iPlayer "how long are programmes available for" page: posted:
We’re also extending (pending commercial negotiations) the availability of a number of programmes including dramas, documentaries and comedy series. This explains why you’ll sometimes spot these types of programmes available for longer.
noggin Founding member
I guess there are two major issues relating to archive content on iPlayer :

1. 'Distorting the market' - if the BBC makes archive content available to an audience free-of-charge, commercial operators who have paid to show that content on their platform may accuse the BBC of having their cake and eating it.

2. The cost of making archive available is still non-trivial, as original rights deals and contracts won't have included on-line provision, so you will either need to go back and renegotiate with the original rights holders on a show-by-show basis, or try and do a blanket deal with the major stakeholders.
More and more series are being released in full after the first broadcast - Killing Eve was and a handful of others have been. Isn't standard but is happening where they can.
There probably needs to be exceptions in the cases of Netflix etc where a lot of BBC box sets have gone to, but I do agree that the iPlayer could seriously rival Netflix and Prime Video if it wanted to.
Then the Daily Mail and co would attack it for taking licence fee money to offer what the commercial sector does Razz
Perhaps they could reduce the license fee and put iPlayer behind a paywall? I'd imagine there's still a good number of people who just watch tele live and never touch the iPlayer.

No solution to this ever growing TV license problem is desirable but ultimately something has got to take a hit.
noggin Founding member
There probably needs to be exceptions in the cases of Netflix etc where a lot of BBC box sets have gone to, but I do agree that the iPlayer could seriously rival Netflix and Prime Video if it wanted to.

"if it wanted to"? If you mean "if the BBC wanted to" - that's the whole point of the consultation.

Remember the BBC is very heavily restricted in what it can currently offer on iPlayer due to it's service licensing arrangements with Ofcom, which are designed to avoid the BBC using its unique funding position to compete unfairly with commercial services.

What the BBC wants to do and what the BBC is able to do are two very different things. (Remember BBC One+1?)

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