Advanced Television

Ofcom: Provisional go-ahead for iPlayer changes

June 12, 2019

By Colin Mann

UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has provisionally concluded that the BBC can go ahead with planned changes to BBC iPlayer, subject to certain conditions and guidance.

The BBC wants to change BBC iPlayer from a 30-day catch up service, to one where programmes are available for 12 months as standard, with some available for longer.

As required by the BBC Charter and Agreement, the regulator undertook a BBC Competition Assessment to consider these plans.

With the UK broadcasting sector evolving, and audiences’ expectations changing, the BBC needs to keep pace, suggests Ofcom.

Ofcom provisionally found that the proposed changes to BBC iPlayer would pose challenges for other public service broadcasters’ video-on-demand services. But in its view, the changes could also deliver significant public value over time. They could increase choice and availability of public-service broadcast content, and help ensure the BBC remains relevant in the face of changing viewing habits.

Accordingly, Ofcom has provisionally concluded that the public value justifies the impact on fair and effective competition, and the BBC can proceed with its plans. This is subject to certain proposed conditions and guidance to ensure the BBC delivers future public value, and to mitigate against risks to fair and effective competition. Given Ofcom’s concerns, it also thinks it is important that future changes to BBC iPlayer are considered carefully.

Ofcom is now inviting views from interest or affected parties on its provisional conclusions by Wednesday 10th July, and expect to publish its final decision by August 2019.



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