The BBC Trust and Ofcom have approved plans to introduce a longer catch-up window to the BBC iPlayer service.
The change is expected to be implemented over the Summer and will see programmes made available for a minimum of 30 days instead of 7. A further change to the service will see an end to ‘series stacking’ meaning viewers will no longer be able to download all episodes of a series retrospectively.
The BBC Trust has described the changes as a “sensible move” and say that series stacking contributes to a relatively small (2%) share of total iPlayer viewing after day seven.
“With an average of 10.7 million programme requests every day, BBC iPlayer is highly valued by audiences and has been a phenomenal success since it launched six years ago.
“It is important that iPlayer continues to evolve and meet the expectations of users. We have conducted a thorough assessment of these proposals, including taking independent advice from Ofcom, and concluded that this is a sensible move that will benefit audiences and provide a clearer and more consistent catch-up service.”
– Diane Coyle, vice chairman of the BBC Trust
Director General Tony Hall believes the iPlayer service is a key element in the corporation’s future.
Following the announcement that BBC Three is to close as a broadcast channel next year, Hall said: “I believe the iPlayer is a key part of the future for public service broadcasting. It’s the gateway for people who increasingly want to watch and listen to what they want, when they want it – on tablets, on mobiles as well as other screens.
“I am sure that this is going to be increasingly important for our younger audiences. And reaching those audiences is vital for the BBC.”