The BBC is due to publish a new run of box–sets on its iPlayer digital catch-up service, as part of director general Tony Hall’s plan to reinvent the service.
Tom Hardy drama Taboo and psychological thriller Apple Tree Yard will be the first boxsets to be made available, with all episodes of each show to remain on iPlayer until the last episode is broadcast – and the full series box–set to be available for a further 30 days.
“Taboo and Apple Tree Yard have both been huge hits on TV and on BBC iPlayer. Now viewers will be able to enjoy them as full box sets – and we want to do the same for more shows in the future,” said head of iPlayer, Dan Taylor-Watt.
“It’s giving viewers what they want – and it’s just the start of what we can do to ensure BBC iPlayer is the UK’s number one online TV service.”
According to BBC stats, Taboo received more than three million requests on BBC iPlayer for its first episode, while Apple Tree Yard received 2 million requests for its first episode. This was on top of consolidated TV viewing figures of 7 million for each show.
Last month Tony Hall said that the BBC must “reinvent public service broadcasting” in a bid to take on digital video giants like Amazon and Netflix.
In a speech to BBC staff in Birmingham to mark the beginning of the BBC’s new 11-year charter period, Hall said that the BBC iPlayer must “make the leap from a catch-up service to a must-visit destination in its own right”.
“Our goal, even in the face of rapid growth by our competitors, is for iPlayer to be the number one online TV service in the UK. That will mean doubling our reach, and quadrupling the time each person spends on it every week.”
The news follows a recent report by research firm YouGov, which claimed that while the BBC’s UK on-demand and catch-up service has more users that its US streaming rivals, it is “not making as much progress” as its competitors.
The BBC is “treading water” with its iPlayer service while Amazon and Netflix are “starting to make waves”, according to the report.