The BBC and PACT (the trade association representing independent UK producers) announced today that they have signed a new deal, which will allow the BBC to keep shows on iPlayer for up to 12 months, and potentially longer.
Until now, many independently produced shows were only kept on iPlayer for 30 days.
Last August the BBC received official permission from Ofcom to keep programmes on iPlayer for a full year, so they would be able to better compete with US streaming giants like Netflix.
However, since many BBC programmes are commissioned from independent producers, many shows on iPlayer were still only available for 30 days. (With some of them then moving to BritBox, which is a separate, subscription-based VOD service from BBC and ITV)
Following long negotiations with PACT, the BBC will now receive an automatic 12 month BBC iPlayer window on all content it commissions within its initial payment.
The agreement also sets out fixed rates for exclusive and non-exclusive extensions to the iPlayer window beyond 12 months.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said:
“This is an important deal for the BBC, the industry, and the wider public.
Not only have we reaffirmed our commitment to supporting independent UK producers, but we have also ensured licence fee payers have access to the best content for at least a year on BBC iPlayer. Everybody wins.”
Sara Geater, all3media COO and Pact Chair, added:
“The terms of trade are the lifeblood of the UK indie sector and I’m delighted we have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with the BBC which gives them the flexibility to increase exploitation of the programmes across iPlayer as well as their linear services.
“This is obviously crucial at a time of increased competition from the global SVOD players.”
The new deal comes in light of BBC iPlayer facing tough competition from the likes of Netflix and Prime Video. While Netflix and Amazon’s market share has grown from 36% to 54% of the UK streaming market last year, BBC iPlayer’s share has gone down from 50% five years ago, to only 15%.
In addition to the longer streaming windows, the BBC is also planning a major revamp of BBC iPlayer, which will focus on human curation and personalisation.