The BBC’s plan to offer Channel 4, ITV and Channel Five the free and open use of its iPlayer online video technology has been blocked by the BBC Trust because it will not deliver value to licence-fee payers.
Open iPlayer, originally dubbed Project Marquee, was intended to create a “federation of on-demand public service broadcasting services” offering the best of the BBC and commercial PSB programming at the same online destination.
However, the BBC Trust said that while it did support the idea of sharing the iPlayer technology more widely with other PSBs, the corporation’s plans were too complex. “We concluded that the Open iPlayer plans in their proposed form, combining both commercial and public service elements, were too complicated,” said Diane Coyle, chair of the BBC Trust’s strategic approvals committee. “We were not convinced that there was enough potential value to licence-fee payers in the public service part of the proposal.”
In the meantime, the trust said, it was open to considering an alternative proposal for “the licensing of the iPlayer technology to third parties if that can be done on a simple, fair and commercial basis”.