The BBC has announced that it has gained permission from Ofcom to keep shows on iPlayer for up to a year, rather than just 30 days, with some shows being given even longer runs. Earlier this month, the BBC and ITV announced more details of their paid-for streaming service, BritBox, which will host shows no longer on iPlayer among its content. With today’s announcement about iPlayer, those who don’t want to buy BritBox will have longer to watch the content they like on iPlayer, which is covered by the TV license.
In a statement issued today, Ofcom said:
“[W]e have concluded that the BBC’s proposed changes to BBC iPlayer could 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.”
While it’s great news for BBC content consumers, Ofcom did raise the issue of competition, saying that it remains concerned that there may be an “adverse impact” on rival services. Ultimately, Ofcom believes that the public good outweighs these competition risks.
Now that Ofcom has given the green light, the BBC will have to negotiate with the makers of the programmes to carry on showing them past 30 days. In response to the decision, BBC said it was “great news” and that it'll "be able to offer so much more to the public."