BBC Worldwide is planning to provide a commercial version of the BBC iPlayer to allow people to download television and radio programmes over the internet. The news follows the appointment of a new director of digital media by the distribution and publishing arm of the BBC.
Simon Danker was previously responsible for commercial sales of television programmes in the UK and Ireland at the BBC Worldwide global television sales division. He will report to David Moody, managing director of digital media and director of strategy.
“New distribution platforms will give audiences what they really want — access on-demand to an unprecedented choice of programming,” he said. “The quality and breadth of BBC Worldwide’s catalogue, and our global reputation as a distributor, means we are in a great position to work with platform owners and producers to generate new income streams in this space.”
The BBC iPlayer, previously dubbed the MyBBCPlayer, will be based on the trial service known as iMP or integrated media player. The new name was unveiled in April by Ashley Highfield, the BBC director of new media and technology, as part of their ‘creative future’ strategy.
The BBC recently achieved a last-minute agreement with Pact, which represents independent producers in the UK, to allow programmes to be made available for download while a series is on air. Once accessed they will be viewable for up to seven days. The deal also provided video-on-demand rights for commercial exploitation.
The launch of the public service BBC iPlayer will be subject to a public value test, but BBC Worldwide is expected to offer a commercial programme download service this year regardless of the outcome.
Red Bee Media, the former BBC Broadcast playout and promotions division of the BBC, has previously announced plans for a hybrid broadcast and broadband service in conjunction with French set-top box maker Netgem. Co-incidentally they currently market a box under the name iPlayer+.