BBC content chief Charlotte Moore has outlined how on-demand service iPlayer will become central to the UK public broadcaster’s approach to commissioning shows and argued its extended 12-month rights window will benefit producers.
“We are transforming our offer to audiences. And this will mean a big change in the way we commission shows,” Moore told producers at an event in London last night.
She said that the changes to iPlayer, including extending the window in which content is available from 30 days to 12 months, will see it become “the best place to watch all BBC TV” combining live and on-demand TV, so that content would now be commissioned with a broader availability and longer lifespan in mind.
“We’re not commissioning for one slot, one channel, one night. We’re commissioning for a far larger ecosystem. An ecosystem where your work will be seen by more people for longer. Where your work will be at the heart of a unique and dynamic service – that has the world’s most amazing marketing tool – our brand and channels, to pull audiences in,” she said.
Moore cited the fact that shows including Ghosts from the BBC’s Horrible Histories team and Peaky Blinders had attracted the bulk of their audience on iplayer after airing on linear, and pointed to the growing number of live sports and other events on iPlayer, such as next year’s Olympic Games and the 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury festival that would attract an ever-larger audience to the platform.
The BBC has come under criticism from producers’ organ over allegedly strong-arming them to secure rights for the extended iPlayer window.
UK producers organisation PACT’s CEO John McVay told TBI in August that the pubcaster was employing “bullying” tactics, while PACT chair and All3Media COO Sara Geater told Edinburgh TV Festival attendees that negotiations were not “going terribly well”.
Moore sought to portray the longer-term commitment required of producers into something that would benefit them.
“Your programmes become more and more successful and audiences get more and more value from the licence fee. We won’t let your work disappear without trace down the back of a global VoD library. Far from it. Because my only interest is to make sure your work is seen by as many people as possible and has impact,” she said.
“We know that making a commitment to iPlayer means renewing a commitment to be your very best backers, your best partner and your strongest supporter. We’re committed to you for the long term, supporting you throughout your career.”
Moore said that the opening up of iPlayer window would also enable the BBC to take more creative risks, commissioning shows that may not otherwise see the light of day. She also emphasised that one of the strengths of iPlayer against other VOD platforms is that it is “not assembled by algorithm – but carefully curated by people you can actually see and talk to in this room.”