BBC launches programmes 'on demand' service

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The Independent Online

The BBC is to launch an internet channel allowing viewers to catch up on the past seven days of BBC television and radio programming, its director general, Mark Thompson, said last night.

The new service, named MyBBCPlayer, is expected to transform the corporation and the way we watch its output.

In a speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Mr Thompson said that the BBC, which is negotiating with the Government to renew its licence for the next decade, must respond to advances in technology that allow viewers to watch television programmes "on demand" through broadband or mobile phone links.

"I accept the premise that if the BBC remains nothing more than a traditional TV and radio broadcaster then we probably won't deserve or get licence-fee funding beyond 2016 ... However, that is not our plan," he said.

The launch of MyBBCPlayer will be seen as an attempt to support the renewal of the BBC's £2bn-a-year licence fee. Fewer people are now watching traditional terrestrial broadcasters. The new service will offer the past seven days of programmes, plus some extra material.

Mr Thompson signalled that the corporation would also provide facilities such as music downloading, a move which will cause controversy among rival broadcasters. They accuse the BBC of going beyond its "public service remit" by providing commercial services.

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