What's next for iPlayer? BBC announces new content and revamped platform

 

Media Editor

The BBC has unveiled a raft of new content exclusive to its revamped iPlayer service amid fears that channels such as CBBC and BBC4 could be at risk from new threats to the organisation’s ability to collect the licence fee.

Frankie Boyle, Micky Flanagan and Morgana Robinson, are among comedians those who will provide bespoke programming for the online service, which Director General Tony Hall described yesterday as “the best online television service in the world”. Historian Sir Max Hastings, artist Goldie and filmmaker Adam Curtis will also contribute content specifically for iPlayer.

But having decided to downgrade BBC3 to an iPlayer-only service in response to pressure on its funding, the BBC warned yesterday that possible Government plans to decriminalise evasion of the licence fee would threaten other services. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Culture Secretary Maria Miller are both said to support the idea of making non-payment of the fee a civil offence.

At the launch of the revised iPlayer, James Purnell, the BBC’s Director of Strategy and Digital, said that decriminalisation could cost the BBC £200 million in income. “Say the rate of evasion was to double from five per cent now, that would be £200 million. That would be the equivalent of all of BBC4, all of CBeebies and all of CBBC,” he said. “Doing it like this very quickly would be a huge risk. The choice would then be that either we take those services off or the government would have to have a higher licence fee.”

Senior BBC figures yesterday rejected the idea that they might bow to a 200,000-strong celebrity-backed petition to reinstate to television the youth oriented channel BBC3, which Lord Hall predicted would do “some very, very new and creative things” as an iPlayer-only service.

But as the BBC encouraged more people to access its output via an iPlayer service that promises an enhanced user experience, there are concerns that the broadcaster will find it harder to make the case for its annual charge.

Colin Browne, chairman of the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, said his organisation supported the fee but that the growth of iPlayer-only material weakened the BBC’s position. “It tends to undermine the case for the licence fee,” he said.

The licence fee only applies to live broadcasts and not for content viewed on-demand via iPlayer. Decriminalisation could increase the numbers of people who argue that they should not pay the £145.50 annual fee because they only watch BBC shows outside the schedule.

Mr Purnell said it was “for the government to decide” whether such catch-up viewing should be subject to the licence fee. “In 2004 the government decided that consumption of live TV on computers [should be] covered by the licence fee as well. We think that in principle it should be possible for catch up content to be covered as well, we think that would be a sensible modernisation.”

Users of the new iPlayer will be urged to sign up to ensure a personalised service that allows them to pause viewing of a show on one device and continue watching from the same point on a different media platform. But Ralph Rivera, the BBC’s Future Media Director, promised the BBC would operate a “gold standard” in managing user data.

Victoria Jay, head of iPlayer programming, announced three shortform dramas for the online service. Adam Curtis will explore the themes of hypocrisy, deception and corruption in a trilogy of films. Goldie will guide iPlayer viewers around the “Matisse: The Cut-Outs” exhibition at Tate Modern and Sir Max will curate a series of interviews with Great War survivors, filmed in the Sixties.

Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director television, defended the decision to give a platform to Boyle, who was dropped by Channel 4 following jokes that were deemed offensive. “We are not in the business of banning specific comedians because of jokes they have told elsewhere,” said Cohen.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Senior Analyst – Global Sports Gaming Brand

40,000- 50,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: Senior Analyst – Global Sports Gam...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum