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The BBC’s plans launch a Netflix rival have gained significant momentum after proposals in the UK Government’s White Paper on the future of the BBC included provisions for the Corporation to launch a new paid-for subscription service.
BBC chiefs are understood to have held talks with potential partners, including ITV and NBCUniversal, about launching such a service.
Early indications, according to UK daily The Guardian, are that it would charge viewers to watch BBC programmes after the 30-day window in which they are currently available to watch for free on the iPlayer has expired.
It may also include some original content – the BBC already premieres a small selection of comedies, drama and documentaries on the iPlayer – but the bulk of the material would already have been shown on the BBC.
Currently, viewers who want to watch a BBC programme beyond the iPlayer window can choose to download it from the BBC Store, which launched in November 2015.
According to Haydn Jones, Account Managing Director with Fujitsu’s Media team, the average consumer now spends less time watching traditional broadcast TV but more and more time watching content online. “The modern audience now watches content on their phone while they commute, or whilst sunbathing on the beach, on their tablet in bed. In short, they watch it however, whenever and wherever they want,” he notes.
“This ‘on-demand’ culture has meant that consumers also now want content personalised to their specific needs. They want it specifically designed to grab their attention. Today’s announcement around the creation of ‘Britflix’ from the BBC and ITV highlights how traditional players need to adapt and move with the times to provide consumers with the bespoke services they want,” he adds.
“The BBC and ITV are taking the initiative and collaborating so that their audiences do not switch off and use digital natives, such as Netflix and Amazon. They are taking steps to futureproof their businesses and ensure they are meeting the changing demands of consumers. Other media organisations need to follow suit, or risk being left behind in an age where the consumers’ expectations are king,” he warns.