Monday 7 October 2019 2:38 pm

How BBC plans to overhaul iPlayer for the Netflix age

The BBC is gearing up to overhaul its on-demand iPlayer service as it braces for an onset of newcomers in the crowded streaming market.

The corporation is planning to reposition the iPlayer as the main access point for its services amid a decline in traditional TV viewing among younger audiences.

Read more: Ofcom gives green light to BBC’s Britbox push

The latest revamp, which the BBC said will change the “look and feel” of the platform as well as the functionality, comes after the broadcaster won regulatory approval to stream its shows for longer.


TV programmes will now be available to view for a year, rather than the previous limit of 30 days.

The move marks the BBC’s attempts to adapt to the rise of on-demand viewing, with roughly half of all UK households now subscribing to a streaming service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Tony Hall, BBC director general, said the corporation is braced for a “second wave of disruption”, with Apple and Disney both set to launch their streaming offerings next month.

“The BBC’s combination of backing great and different ideas, alongside a complete reinvention of iPlayer, will mean a unique service that will be of huge benefit to the public,” Hall will say in a speech today. “It will be a new front door for British creativity.”

The new service, which will be rolled out next year, will combine live viewing with links to box sets and additional content.

It comes as the BBC prepares to launch Britbox, its joint streaming venture with ITV.

The broadcaster said it was shaking off the “burdens of excessive regulation” and was now able to improve its streaming offering to customers.


Read more: BBC accused of ‘pulling a fast one’ on producers over Britbox plans

However, the corporation’s attempts to overturn regulation have been slammed by some in the industry, who have accused it of trying to promote its own content at the expense of independent production companies.

Teresa Potocka, founder and chief executive of Sensethefuture Pictures, told City A.M. in August that the BBC was “pulling a fast one” on indies over proposals that would put the broadcaster first in line to buy rights from producers.

Main image credit: Getty

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