You'll have to log in to use BBC iPlayer from 2017


The BBC has announced that from early 2017, any viewers that want to tune in or catch up via the iPlayer service will have to log in to a personal account.

At the moment, there's already an option to create an online iPlayer account – otherwise known as a BBC ID – but it's not mandatory to access the service itself. Currently, there are around 7 million BBC ID accounts in existence.

According to the BBC, the reason behind this change is a desire to make its service more personal and localised. Making use of your BBC ID at the moment, for example, allows you to personalise what BBC content you see, such as prioritising news that happens closer to home.

Content that's closer to home

Being able to offer a more personalised experience is useful for the BBC – with greater access to information on what people choose to watch and when they choose to watch it, it could help the broadcaster offer viewers content that will appeal specifically to them and keep them engaged for longer.

Creating a BBC ID doesn't require much personal information, just your email address and a password, though from Tuesday a postcode will also be required.

It will no doubt arouse suspicion among viewers that this change is coming so hot on the heels of the recent change in the TV license fee rules.

It's possible that it could be seen as a way to influence viewers to pay their license fee and keep an eye on the homes of those who haven't, particularly now that a postcode is mandatory when creating an account.

The BBC, however, says it has no intentions of using the account information to enforce the new license fee rule but adds that it hasn't ruled this out as a possibility in the future.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.