In May 2022, the BBC set out a vision to improve its digital offer as part of our drive to deliver more value to audiences. The plans will see content and services reshaped to build a digital-first BBC. As part of this strategy, and in response to audience expectations and changes in the market, we announced plans to continue to improve BBC iPlayer by offering more boxsets and archive, making more BBC series available on-demand, and ensuring that news and current affairs is as important to BBC iPlayer as it is on broadcast.
In June 2022, we set out the detail of these proposals for consultation as part of a Public Interest Test. Following extensive audience research, economic analysis and the period of consultation, the BBC Board has decided that the proposed changes are not material as they will not have a significant adverse impact on fair and effective competition.
The BBC has now referred the proposal to Ofcom who, as the BBC’s regulator, will decide whether they agree with the BBC Board’s conclusion that the changes are not material. Information on this can found on Ofcom’s website.
The Public Interest Test submission and the main supporting evidence used to inform the Board’s decision are published below.
BBC iPlayer II Public Interest Test submission
This document sets out the detail around the BBC’s final proposals that we should have the freedom to improve and increase the availability of programmes on BBC iPlayer by allowing us to publish – subject to our financial and operational constraints - any title on BBC iPlayer in line with our agreements with producers and underlying rightsholders, including the availability of any returning series as full series boxsets.
Our analysis - based on our audience research conducted by MTM, responses to our consultation and modelling of the potential market impact of the changes - shows that our proposals will clearly deliver high public value without significant adverse market impact.
The proposals will contribute to the fulfilment of the BBC’s Mission and Public Purposes by offering:
- Better value for money for Licence Fee payers;
- A broader range of genres / programmes;
- Better representation and portrayal;
- Greater availability of accessible programmes; and
- Increased news consumption.
To understand any possible market impact we modelled two scenarios that increased the size of the BBC iPlayer archive by 300% and 600% respectively. We found that neither scenario had a significant adverse impact on fair and effective competition.
Where permission has been given, responses from stakeholders are published below:
- Children’s Media Foundation
- Directors UK
- MG Alba
- Musicians’ Union
- National Union of Journalists
- Professor Patrick Barwise
- Professor Robert Beveridge
- Society of Authors
- TAC (Cymraeg)
- TAC (English)
- Voice of the Listener & Viewer
Consultation (now closed)
The BBC’s consultation on the BBC's proposed improvements to BBC iPlayer was open from 23 June to 4 August 2022 and is now closed.