The BBC Trust has approved proposals from the BBC Executive to extend the catch-up window for programmes on BBC iPlayer from seven to 30 days.
The decision follows a formal assessment of the significance of the plans and advice from Ofcom on the potential impact of the proposals on others.
The catch-up extension will mean that programmes will be available on iPlayer to stream or download for 30 days after they are first broadcast, rather than the current seven days. The changes are expected to be implemented from this summer.
The Trust’s assessment looked at the likely impact on audiences and on the market; the novelty and duration of proposals; and their financial implications. The Trust also took account of the advice from Ofcom.
BBC Trust Vice Chairman Diane Coyle said that with an average of 10.7 million programme requests every day, BBC iPlayer was highly valued by audiences and had been a “phenomenal” success since it launched six years ago. “It is important that iPlayer continues to evolve and meet the expectations of users. We have conducted a thorough assessment of these proposals, including taking independent advice from Ofcom, and concluded that this is a sensible move that will benefit audiences and provide a clearer and more consistent catch-up service,” she added.
Under the plans approved by the Trust, the current ‘series stacking’ option, where multiple episodes of a TV series can be downloaded retrospectively, will end, although it will still be available for radio programmes. Instead, individual TV episodes will be available for longer under the 30 day extension.
In a statement, the BBC Executive said: “People keep telling us they want programmes to be available on BBC iPlayer for longer – so extending availability from seven to 30 days will make iPlayer even better. New iPlayer already has downloads, better recommendations, HD, live restart, favourites and collections, and extending the catch-up window to 30 days gives people even longer to enjoy their favourite BBC programmes. We will now set about making this happen with the aim to roll this out from the summer.”