There have been some calls lately for fees to be introduced for viewing TV shows episodes and other content on the BBC’s popular iPlayer. Lorraine Heggessey, chief executive of TV production company Talkback Thames, said that users of the site should be charged “micro payments” to use the online catch up service.
Tony Cohen, chief executive of Talkback’s parent company Fremantle Media, is also conducting a feasibility study of the concept. The increasing support in the industry to introduce fees for the service come as advertising revenue in the commercial TV sector falls.
However, while research conducted by Fremantle allegedly suggests that consumers would be willing to pay up to £2 for some shows, the BBC says that it has no plans to introduce fees to use the service, on the grounds that viewers already pay for it. “The cost of the BBC iPlayer is covered by the licence fee, so UK users have already paid for this service,” said a spokesperson.
The service was launched on Christmas day in 2007 after £6 million was spent developing it. Now, during peak hours, it pumps out approximately 12GB of data per second to UK viewers. Media industry expert Steve Hewlett says that the idea of paying to watch TV programmes online makes sense, in theory.
“The BBC never thought it was appropriate to give away DVDs, so why should catch-up be free?” he said. “Traditionally, licence fee payers have paid for access on a TV set - and only for the first transmission.” He believes that a payment model similar to what is being offered by Amazon or iTunes might be an appropriate solution.
Result for: tv programmes
The BBC has announced that its popular iPlayer service has gone portable and will be compatible with a large list of portable devices, including the Apple iPod Touch and iPhone.
“This is the first time that you can play BBC iPlayer TV programmes on a range of portable media devices,” says Anthony Rose on the official iPlayer blog.
Rose says the iPlayer will work on Sony Walkman E and S series, Archos 605 WIFI and Internet Media Tablet, Philips GoGear 52xx series, Samsung YP-P2 and YP-Q1 and Nokia N96 devices. The entire list, which is updated weekly, is available here.
If your device does not have Wi-Fi, you will have to download the shows and not stream, but Rose notes that any PMP that can play “PlaysForSure” media (now known as “Certified For Windows Vista”) is compatible.
“If the device packaging mentions ‘PlaysForSure’, that’s a good sign…for our Mac and Linux users, don’t despair: we have another release coming up very soon, aimed at improving your BBC iPlayer options - stay tuned for updates…” Rose adds.