iPlayer will be BBC’s “fifth channel”

cohenThe BBC is creating a “Controller of iPlayer” role, with the aim of developing the catch-up TV service into the corporation’s fifth channel.

Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, said he hoped that by creating the role people will “begin to see” iPlayer as a “fifth channel … [so it] has that status”.  The controller will manage programming as well as the budget.

Cohen added that the new controller would have a budget of a “few million pounds” to spend, but the final amount is still to be decided.

The content side of iPlayer will be run by the television division, Cohen explained, but it will “work cleverly” on strategy with the technology departments.

Under the BBC’s plan, iPlayer will not only allow viewers to watch some content online before it is broadcast, it will also give them access to new iPlayer channels, some of them temporary pop-up ones covering events such as Wimbledon.

Cohen said the BBC is still working out the details of how the new iPlayer will work but said that “channels still do matter” and that he thinks viewers will continue to watch a hybrid of on-demand and live.

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