BBC chief Tony Hall outlines “total TV” iPlayer vision

Tony Hall

BBC director-general Tony Hall has said the public broadcaster wants to turn iPlayer into an all-encompassing service that will offer “total TV” and compete with Netflix and new entrants such as Apple.

The BBC has been putting increasing resources over recent years into the service, which started life as a catch-up service for TV programming but will soon provide access to shows for a year and act as a first port of call for viewers.

Hall told the Royal Television Society Convention that the BBC was turning iPlayer into a “destination in its own right” and said he viewed opportunities for the BBC as streamers’ libraries shrink amid “fierce” competition.

Building on comments revealed earlier this week, Hall said iPlayer “will be the place you go to for your news; your sport; the place you go to for drama; documentaries; live channels – everything we do.

“iPlayer is going to be total TV. It’ll offer the very best of the BBC – all in one place – playing to our strengths: our liveness, the breadth of our genres and storytelling, the fact that we’re both local – and global.”

Hall added that the broadcaster had also “modernised pay, grading and our terms and conditions” and talked up its efforts to better represent the population it serves.

“We have driven diversity on and off air, with the most ambitious set of targets anywhere in the media. We’ve made hundreds of millions of pounds of savings, and brought overhead spend to a record low,” he said.

But he cautioned that “increasing competition will require significant investment”, adding that “the cost of content in many of the key genres is rising much faster than UK inflation” meaning “tough choices ahead.”

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