BBC plans to launch Netflix rival

BBC iPlayer

The BBC is investigating launching a subscription service to rival Netflix and Amazon prime after being given the go-ahead by ministers in last week's white paper.

The BBC already operates iPlayer as an online service, however content becomes unavailable 30 days after it is originally broadcast.

This new service would differ in that content would remain available even after this 30-day window has elapsed. It would also be a paid service, unlike iPlayer which is available to anyone in the UK regardless of whether they pay for a TV licence or not, although this is set to change in 2017.

The BBC has also been in talks with potential partners including ITV and NBC Universal, which indicates that non-BBC content may also make its way to the service.

A rival to Netflix

Currently the BBC operates the BBC Store, which users can use to download shows after the 30-day iPlayer window.

However the core iPlayer service is advertised as a 'catch-up service' only. Users are unable to watch an entire series if it has been shown over a period of longer than a month.

The BBC has previously not wanted to introduce a subscription service as it fears that this may lead to the TV licence being scrapped at some point in the future. However with an increasing amount of TV viewing moving online the BBC risks falling behind by not offering a competing service.

The service would also provide an additional revenue stream for the BBC, who has been forced to take on the cost of providing free licence fees to the over 75s at a cost of approximately £700m.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.