BBC to up Netflix rivalry with potential one-year availability of iPlayer shows

BBC ups Netflix rivalry with potential one-year availability of iPlayer shows

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has given "provisional" approval to plans that would enable BBC programmes to be available on BBC iPlayer for 12 months – far longer than the current 30-day catch-up model.

As reported by BBC News, Ofcom said the proposed changes, submitted in April, "could increase choice and availability of public-service broadcast content and help ensure the BBC remains relevant in the face of changing viewing habits". 

It did, however, note that the changes "would pose challenges for other public service broadcasters' video-on-demand services", and is not expected to make its final decision until August. 

Parties affected have until 10th July to offer comments to the regulator regarding its initial conclusions. 

In a statement, the BBC mentioned the "growing expectations" of its viewers: "we hope Ofcom can now confirm its decision swiftly so we can start giving licence fee-payers the BBC iPlayer they want and deserve," it said. 

The British Broadcasting Corporation has always created its own content funded by TV licence fees – last year, the BBC's Bodyguard (Episode 1) received nearly 11m requests and was its most asked-after show, with Killing Eve (Episode 1, Series 1) second on 9.23m requests. But the new ruling, if successful, would undoubtedly help the Beeb greater compete with Netflix (and the like) for your TV time. 

After all, just yesterday Sky announced it is upping its original content two-fold with the launch of Sky Studios. Apple is also significantly upping its investment in producing new content, and of course Netflix and Amazon's output of originals is ever-increasing. Naturally, iPlayer has an advantage in that it's free and subscription-free.


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.