For years BBC’s iPlayer has garnered high praise as one of the best streaming platforms out there. The iPlayer app has become so popular amongst media consumers, that a significant part of the audience for programmes it airs now comes from viewers on the app.
The iPlayer platform has evolved over the years and like other streaming services has dabbled with putting up online exclusive material on the app and in some cases putting episodes of shows on iPlayer before they air on TV. Whilst iPlayer has been growing and evolving, so has the rest of the market and these moves could be seen as ways to compete with the likes of Netflix, who have had great success with exclusive content and great success at cornering the ‘binge watching’ audience.
Another step in to the streaming world
The BBC took another step in to the streaming world this week, as BBC Three became an online only channel. This move has been known about for years and was done as part of a cost cutting exercise by the BBC, but as a media professional it is exciting to see how it works out for the channel, the programmes and the BBC.
If you don’t have a TV package that allows you to record or pause live TV you use things like iPlayer to watch TV, so I don’t see the audience dropping for this channel through it’s move to online. The one thing I worry about though is it’s potential to find a new audience, those that might have flicked by on the Freeview channels or seen a programme in the TV listings that may not find them now they are not there on Freeview.
Value for money
The TV License is always a big issue with the BBC. The BBC is currently funded through the compulsory TV License fee but if this push to online continues to grow, will there be more calls for it to be scrapped? If the BBC was to move everything to online only, then the £12 odd a month we currently have to pay, ma not be seen as good value, when you can get the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime for cheaper.
Yes the BBC is more than just TV, it’s radio, it’s websites etc. etc. etc. but price and value for money is important to many people and if you don’t use parts of the service you don’t want to pay for them.
Dare to be different
I think where the BBC can be different is to offer an app, which has all the best bits of the BBC in the same place. One experience where you can grab the best of TV, Radio, News, Sport etc. Imagine being able to get the best TV, music and readable news in one app. This would be something to me that would be worth the higher fee and I think is something the BBC should explore, to keep them relevant and ahead of the game. It is a critical time for the BBC right now and I think bravery is needed to navigate the changes in the media space.