Sky's iPlayer service just links to BBC site

The iPlayer - already there
The iPlayer - already there

Sky has announced a deal with BBC over the iPlayer – but incredibly all that the broadcasters are offering is online hyperlinks through to the original Beeb website.

In what some industry insiders have already described as a bizarre move – Sky's online 'Sky Player', which is accessible through PCs, will now catalogue BBC's iPlayer programmes, but in order for its customers to view them they will be redirected to the BBC's iPlayer website.

Despite this, Griff Parry, the director of on-demand at BSkyB, said to the Guardian that this proved the company was the "leading online aggregator with access to one of the broadest selections of online video".

Demand for 'on demand'

With rival Virgin Media's cable able to offer a much more dynamic video on-demand service that actually plays on people's televisions, it appears that Sky's answer has been to take the online route.

Although this accounts for a tiny percentage of the viewing market, Sky's commitment to online means that many of its top television shows are available for its customers online on its Sky Player.

However, it does seem a little disingenuous to insist that linking through to content hosted on the BBC iPlayer enhances Sky's service – as anybody in the UK can watch BBC programmes already through the existing iPlayer.

Leading aggregator

Indeed, if linking through to websites that host television content can be constituted as aggregating programmes, then any site with links to YouTube, the iPlayer, and Channel 4's OD could make a similar claim.

A spokesperson for the BBC confirmed to TechRadar that the service was online only, and that people would be routed out of the Sky Player to the BBC site adding: "This underlines our commitment to reaching new audiences."

And for those people who want to access the iPlayer abroad, and are hoping this new service offers a backstairs route think again, with the spokesperson adding: "The UK-only safeguards are still in place – the iPlayer remains a service for people in the UK only."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.