BBC opens public interest test consultation on future of iPlayer

The BBC has opened a public interest test consultation on the future of BBC iPlayer, its popular on-demand and catch-up offering.

In the fact of intensified competition and a changing media landscape, the pubcaster is seeking the freedom to improve and increase the availability of programmes on BBC iPlayer by gaining authorisation to publish any title on BBC iPlayer in line with its agreements with producers and underlying rightsholders, including the availability of any returning series as full series boxsets.

The BBC said in its consultation document that it was not proposing to change the standard 12-month availability of programmes, or any other change that would require a renegotiation of our Terms of Trade with producers organisation PACT.

It said that where it did make available full series boxsets, keep non-returning series on BBC iPlayer for longer, or publish more archive series, it would do so under the terms it has agreed with PACT and underlying rightsholders.

As the proposals will give the BBC significantly greater freedom with regards to BBC iPlayer’s content library, the broadcaster has recognised that the changes are likely to generate what it describes as “legitimate stakeholder interest”.

As a result it has decided to carry out a Public Interest Test, including consulting on the proposals to give stakeholders an opportunity to comment.

Those stakeholders have been invited to comment on particular on the public value and market impact of the proposals.

The consultation runs for six weeks from June 23 to August 4 2022. The BBC said it would also carry out market research and economic analysis to assess both the public value and market impact of the proposals.

If the BBC Board decides that the proposals meet the Public Interest Test, the corporation will then send the Public Interest Test submission and supporting evidence to regulator Ofcom. The BBC then expects to publish the Public Interest Test submission, research and analysis by the autumn of this year.

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