Trust rejects BBC proposal for online federation of public service broadcasters

MUMBAI: A proposal for the BBC to form an online federation giving access to public service broadcasters‘ content via iPlayer through a combination of commercial and public service elements has been rejected by the BBC Trust.
The Trust reiterated its support for the principle of sharing the iPlayer more widely, but said the BBC would need to find simpler ways of achieving this.

The rejected proposal involved a federation between the public service broadcasters (PSBs) to provide access via the iPlayer to their on-demand video content, combining commercial and public service components.

The Trust concluded that this was not the best way to share the BBC iPlayer or to deliver increased public value to licence fee payers. However, the Trust said that it was open to alternative proposals for sharing iPlayer technology on a simpler basis to others beyond the BBC.

Said BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust‘s Strategic Approvals Committee Diane Coyle, "The iPlayer is a success and we believe that access to its technology could be useful to other broadcasters. The Trust supports the BBC‘s aim of sharing the benefits of the iPlayer.

"When assessing the proposals submitted by the BBC Executive, the Trust weighed up a number of factors which included their strategic significance, their impact on other BBC activities, the potential competitive impact and their overall value to licence fee payers.

"We concluded that the open iPlayer plans in their proposed form, combining both commercial and public service elements, were too complicated. We were not convinced that there was enough potential value to licence fee payers in the public service part of the proposal, and we have therefore rejected the BBC Executive‘s proposals for an open iPlayer federation. 
"We will look again at future public service models for the online delivery of programming as part of the strategic review now in progress. In the meantime, the Trust is open to considering an alternative proposal for the licensing of the iPlayer technology to third parties if that can be done on a simple, fair and commercial basis."

The BBC Executive submitted detailed proposals to the Trust‘s Strategic Approvals Committee on 29 September on use of the iPlayer technology by third parties. These are collectively known as the ‘open iPlayer‘ proposals and comprise a number of distinct elements including:

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