Following advanced-television.com’s revelation that a launch of the BBC Store download-to-own service was imminent, the BBC has confirmed that it will be available from the morning of November 5th, providing what the BBC says offers an easy way for audiences to buy, enjoy and keep their favourite BBC programmes.
Bal Samra, Commercial Director, BBC, described the move as “an opening up of the treasure trove of the BBC Archive,” which was bringing more to people than ever before. “BBC Store, operated by BBC Worldwide, is the result of a fantastic collaboration with the creative industry,” he stated.
For over thirty years, selected BBC programmes have been available to buy – first on VHS, then DVD and more recently on digital download platforms such as iTunes. Now with more viewing switching to digital, BBC Store allows audiences to choose from a selection of recently broadcast programmes; television favourites and lost gems from the BBC archive, making it what Marcus Arthur MD, BBC Worldwide and ANZ, described as “the most comprehensive collection of BBC content anywhere, ever”.
“We’ve really tried to make it easy for people to browse, buy and watch the content,” advised Arthur, noting that the service would launch with 7,000 hours of content, with 50 per cent more content being added in the coming year. The collection will continue to build as more programmes are added each day from iPlayer and the BBC archive.
“We want BBC Store to do for digital ownership what iPlayer did for catch-up,” declared Arthur, noting that it would be offering content that had never been available before commercially or had been available in different formats but was now available in VoD. “There has only ever been less than 10 per cent of the BBC’s archives ever available to buy and own,” he advised. “This is just the start of the journey to create now revenue streams,” he added.
Audiences will be able to watch the programmes they’ve bought from BBC Store on BBC iPlayer as their purchases will appear in the new ‘My Programmes’ area of BBC iPlayer to play back in full. They will also be able to access BBC Store directly from iPlayer, to find, buy and watch BBC shows. iPlayer will continue to offer the same range of programmes to watch live, catch up on and download for up the 30 days for free.
Dan Taylor-Watt, Head of BBC iPlayer, said the launch of BBC Store coincided with a significant milestone in the evolution of iPlayer – the addition of ‘Places to Buy’ links enabling users to buy and keep and to watch BBC Store purchases back on iPlayer.
The service will only be available in the UK, with audiences being able to buy programmes using a UK-registered credit or debit card. Executives said there are “no plans” to take it overseas, stressing that a mooted US subscription service is “totally different” from BBC Store.
Prices will be similar to other download-to-own services. Prices for a single episode start at £1.89. with the average price for a six-part series is £7.99. Users can also elect to buy programmes in Standard Definition, or, for a little more, in High Definition.