BBC relaxes iPlayer provisions in VOD syndication rules

The BBC has today proposed new rules governing how its content can be used by third party VOD services that would relax its earlier stated policy that its programming should only be delivered on-demand via the iPlayer service.

The UK public broadcaster had earlier said that its content should only be syndicated on-demand via the three standard versions of the iPlayer, delivered over the top and that exceptions were only permissible if a platform operator could not, for some reason, adopt one of these.

The BBC Trust, which oversees the activities of the BBC, said that on-demand content is best presented in a “BBC environment” such as the iPlayer “but that the Trust accepts that circumstances may occasionally arise that justify special arrangements that depart from this model.” It added: “The revised policy proposes a more flexible approach”.

The Trust proposes a range of principles with which all syndication partners will be required to comply. These include that content is accessed for free and is free from advertising and that content is easily identifiable as from the BBC and is subject to its editorial control.

BBC Trust Vice-Chair Diane Coyle, who led the review, said: “Licence fee payers should be able to find BBC on-demand content available on lots of different platforms, but this has to be done in a way that gives value for money and satisfies some basic principles to ensure that BBC content serves the public as it is meant to. We’ve taken on board what the industry told us earlier this year. I hope that we have reached a sensible way forward in this complicated area.”

The Trust is seeking opinions on the new guidelines and will publish the final policy in early 2012.

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