BBC gets provisional go-ahead for iPlayer revamp

The BBC has won provisional approval to change its iPlayer from a 30-day catch-up service to a streaming site where programmes will be available for one year.

Ofcom, the UK media regulator, on Wednesday said it wanted the BBC to go ahead and make programmes available for longer online. The provisional approval will now be subject to a four-week consultation in which interested parties, such as other public service broadcasters, will have an opportunity to voice concerns about the BBC’s move to reach viewers who are increasingly moving online.

“Having scrutinised the BBC’s plans for iPlayer and listened to industry feedback . . . we’ve provisionally concluded that the BBC can go ahead. We believe the changes will provide value to BBC viewers that would justify the effect on competition,” said an Ofcom spokesperson.

Ofcom pointed out that having free programmes available for longer on the BBC could mean people would be less likely to pay a subscription to BritBox, the joint-streaming service that ITV and the BBC are due to launch before the end of the year.

The consultation will close on 10 July and Ofcom said it wanted to make a final decision on the matter by August.

The BBC was not immediately available for comment.