BBC Planning iTunes-Style Service For Content | TV Shows Available As Digital Downloads

1 min read

BBC LogoThe BBC could soon be selling shows – both old and new – to the British public who originally funded the making of this content in the first place. A good idea, but not a wholly moral one.

BBC & The iPlayer


is responsible for some of the best television content on the planet. Shows such as Doctor Who and Top Gear have millions of fans around the world. And with the iPlayer it also provides one of the best catch-up TV services on the planet too.

However, there is an opportunity being missed here; to sell content to the public after transmission. According to paidContent, the BBC is now developing plans to rectify that situation.

Digital Downloads

The plan would be to sell content online immediately after transmission. Episodes would be priced as low as £1.89 ($3) each, with the producers of the shows (who reclaim the rights 30 days after transmission) paid a higher percentage than they would get through Apple iTunes.

Currently only around 7 percent of BBC shows are made available online after the original iPlayer window ends (through Blinkbox etc.) That leaves a whopping 93 percent of content waiting to be monetized for the new reality.

What About The License Fee?

Part of me wonders how the BBC can justify this when they’re publicly funded by the hefty annual license fee paid by all U.K. residents. If we’re paying for the programming in the first place then we shouldn’t be having it sold back to us at a later date.

However, the BBC already sells its shows, both to international networks and on DVD and Blu-ray. So adding another source of income isn’t actually that big a leap to make.

Ideally this would end with the license fee being scrapped altogether, but I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to happen.