BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie said that the corporation’s download-to-own BBC Store, which was approved by the BBC Trust in February, will not launch before the end of the year.
Speaking at the IBC TV tech conference on Saturday morning, Davie, who is the head of the BBC’s commercial arm, said that the store is now likely to go live in 2015. “I want to get it perfect before we launch,” he said.
While the BBC Store is a UK initiative in the first instance, Davie first said back in 2013 that he had ambitions to launch an international version.
During his IBC talk, Davie hinted that this international version may underpin a different approach to digital sales than in the UK, saying that he aimed to have flexibility in terms of the payment mechanism.
“Whether I’m buying it [content] forever, or whether I’m buying a subscription service – let’s just say I would expect my technical people to give me complete flexibility,” said Davie.
Talking about Worldwide’s broader digital video strategy, Davie said that his decision last year to phase out the Global iPlayer – an SVOD version of the BBC’s domestic catch-up service that BBC Worldwide started trialling in 2011 – was in order to focus attention on the BBC.com website.
“Yes there is no doubt that there is demand for BBC online content, but, for me, sitting in the context of BBC.com, which has already got 17 million users,” said Davie.
“In some ways we’re having a branding discussion, because I want to deliver iPlayer functionality if that’s the right thing for a market – whether it’s download-to-own or SVOD. I want you to have access to that via BBC.com alongside News and the other brands we’ve got.”
Asked whether BBC Worldwide could sell a subscription player app through BBC.com, Davie said “watch this space.”
Talking broadly about his vision for BBC Worldwide, Davie pinpointed three areas for growth, focused around investment in content, clearly focused channel brands and digital innovation.
Discussing BBC Worldwide’s new premium drama channel, BBC First, which launched last month in Australia, Davie said it was still early days but the initial results were “very encouraging.”
In terms of future expansion of the brand, Davie said success was not necessarily interested in launching in 30 markets, preferring it instead to be “in a selected handful of markets and doing very well.”
He also said that that the BBC Earth online vertical was due to launch imminently, going live first in the UK before being commercialised around the world.