UK producers express concern at BBC’s rights plan for iPlayer

British producers have expressed concern about BBC plans to make programmes available for longer on its iPlayer streaming service.

The BBC has put forward proposals to regulator Ofcom that programmes should be available on BBC iPlayer for at least 12 months after they are first shown, and that selected returning titles should be available as full box sets of all series. It also wants the BBC iPlayer showcase more content from the BBC archive.

The BBC argues that competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon means that it needs to be able to show content for longer on the service.

BBC director of content Charlotte Moore said: “Audience expectations have changed dramatically, viewers are now used to being able to watch what they want when they want, and they expect much more from BBC iPlayer.

“We want to make the best UK programmes available to audiences for longer and provide a range of series and box sets for everyone to enjoy. This will bring the BBC iPlayer in line with what other services already offer and give audiences even greater value for their licence fee.

“The media landscape is changing rapidly, and global media giants are increasingly dominant. We hope Ofcom can consider these plans quickly and enable us to deliver what UK audiences want and expect.”

However, producers have expressed concern about the proposals, arguing that they will diminish the value of their rights.

In a submission to Ofcom, producers alliance Pact said it “is concerned that the BBC’s planned extension of its exclusive VOD rights to 12 months will mean that the BBC’s content will not be available to other content providers, or services until the value of such content to other providers has significantly declined or been reduced to zero.”

All3Media said it recognised that some change to the current iPlayer service may be necessary so that the BBC can continue to meet the changing demands of its viewers.

But All3Media called on the BBC “to balance any change with amendments to its commercial terms, policy and practice to ensure that independent producers and other rightsholder are fairly remunerated and/or able to pursue new opportunities to compensate for the enhanced exploitation rights the BBC acquire.”