The BBC has vexed a number of television production companies after attempting to extend iPlayer shows from one month to one year – without raising the licensing fees they pay for the content.
Earlier this month, Ofcom ruled that the iPlayer service could extend the amount of time box sets could be viewed from 30 days to 12 months. The BBC had previously warned it would become “irrelevant” unless it is allowed to offer box sets and keep shows on iPlayer for at least a year to compete with major streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Independent TV producers say that keeping their shows on iPlayer longer means that they are less valuable when they are later allowed to be sold on to other distributors, which they are currently allowed to do 18 months after they have aired on the BBC. Ofcom had ruled that the BBC needs to “adequately compensate” producers and that it may have to look to pay a higher price for programming.
However, Pact, the body which represents the UK independent TV production industry, says it has been contacted by a number of members reporting that the BBC is attempting to obtain permission to host their shows for longer on the online platform without paying more.