BBC boss confirms iTunes alternative in store
Corporation to add downloads to CD, DVD, BD range
The BBC is working on a digital content store as an alternative to Apple's iTunes.
Speaking to the Royal Television Society this week, the Corporation's Director General, Mark Thompson, confirmed that the scheme, codenamed 'Project Barcelona', will let punters "purchase a digital copy of a programme to own and keep".
The cost of each item would be "relatively modest", he promised.
The move is no great surprise. The BBC's commercial arm - BBC Worldwide, formerly BBC Enterprises - has been releasing Corporation-made content for years, first on LP, then on cassette, VHS, CD, DVD and, most recently, Blu-ray Disc. It also makes a wide selection available through iTunes and other download stores too.
The BBC has been reselling its content for years
Since the BBC also maintains its own online shop selling physical product, extending this into the digital domain is a logical step forward for the Corporation.
It's also a move which allows the broadcaster to more easily sell its programmes directly to a global audience.
If that helps keep future increases in licence fee, essentially a television tax, at a low level, that's no bad thing.
Thomson didn't seem to imply that Project Barcelona will sell a broader range of content than that owned or co-owned by the BBC itself. But he did say it will not offer the Corporation's content on an exclusive basis. So iTunes fans will still be able to get their Doctor Who fix there, if they wish. ®
Re: Open up the archives
Junking Fraggle Rock??? Bloody Philistines.
Open up the archives
Would be great to see the BBC and ITV/former ITV companies open up their archives.
What a shame it is then that I heard that the company that now holds the former TVS archive was junking shows* from the 1980's even recently with *NO* copies being made. Apparently they claim the shows are of no commercial value which is exactly the reasoning the BBC et al had in the 1960's/70's when it junked shows on a daily basis.
When Network can stick out episodes of 1970's Crossroads on DVD and turn a profit it does kind of point to the fact that if you exploit your archive correctly you can make money.
* Episodes of kids TV shows Number 73 and the UK version of Fraggle Rock apparently. Only found this out when a friend purchased Fraggle Rock for her kids and got the American Fulton Mackay-less version.
DRM, and Virual PVR
Is there any mention of DRM?
'Own and keep' does not equate to 'play forever on any of your devices'
On a separate note - what would happen if somebody offered a virtual PVR (online)? You pay £x per month to rent a virtual PVR and say which programmes you wish to record (free to air only) - and then transfer them to your home PC, etc. Sounds like a plan to me.
Re: relatively modest
If you are patient you can pick up most BBC DVD releases very cheaply anyway. Just purchased The Tripods box set (both series) for under a tenner which works out at about 39p an episode.
Picked up all 3 series of the original Survivors for £15, but I only got midway through series 2 before wanting to tear my eyeballs out in sheer boredom. Still again I doubt they'll be matching that price online.
Re: Open up the archives
Opening up the archives is actually more complicated than you might think. In Germany you can generally ask TV-stations for copies of previously broadcast shows. This is usually done for high, but fair prices, considering those copies are "handmade". (about 60 Euros per hour of material is common) I once asked them about an experimental TV show made in 1972 which has absolutely no commercial value, and they couldn't give it to me. The problem was that in order to hand out copies, they need to have the right to do so. And back then they simply didn't think about home video so they didn't negotiate the rights with the participants.
What would be more sensible, would be a "donation based channel". An actual TV channel, open to everyone, to which cost you can donate to (so it's cost neutral for the station) and material could be aired without re-negotiation. This would effectively allow them to open up their archives without any extra costs.