Advanced Television

BBC: There is no VoD but iPlayer

May 26, 2010

The BBC wants to ban 'unbundled' VoD provision of its programmes on third party sights. The corporation's management makes the recommendation in proposals for changing its on-demand syndication guidelines, submitted to the BBC Trust.

The management says: “We recommend that the BBC catalogue of full programmes should not be made available in a disintermediated way but instead under appropriate BBC brands, just as the BBC does not offer the opportunity for third parties to create a bespoke linear schedule from their preferred elements of the BBC and competitor schedules on any given day.”

So, all third-party platforms will have to carry an “iPlayer”-branded service within their own systems, if they want BBC shows to be available to their users. The BBC also wants to ban third parties from custom-building their own versions of iPlayer. Last year it refused technical assistance to Fetch TV when it wanted to do this. The complaint to the Trust about this from Fetch is what has lead to the new guidelines published yesterday.

The new guidelines are similar to those cited by BBC executives but prior to Trust approval and set thresholds of users for alternate platforms – 100,000 minimum for any technical adjustment and 500,000 minimum for custom builds; effectively a barrier to third party adaptation. The new guidelines also confirm the banning of third parties embedding iPlayer in any form without permission.

“The BBC currently has material concerns over the cost of reversioning for different platforms and devices,” the proposal says. “The BBC believes that self-build would compromise the ability of the BBC to ensure quality, especially around upgrading of the products.”

The review comes as iPlayer launches a new version including more social network features.

Categories: Articles, OTT, OTT, VOD