BBC plans ‘next generation’ iPlayer


The BBC's director general Tony Hall is expected to announce the launch of the next generation BBC iPlayer in a keynote speech today.

The speech, entitled Where Next?, will set out the BBC's new strategy to adapt to technological developments and the changing ways consumers access news and entertainment.

The vision is for an iPlayer where consumers personalise their choices of BBC programmes.

Part of this development is that BBC Radio1 will have its own channel on iPlayer offering more exclusive programs with the hope of attracting younger viewers.

A new app will be introduced for smart-phones and tablets; users will personalise their choices and the app will be able to suggest programmes for the user depending on their expressed preferences. The launch is planned for 2014.

The iPlayer, launched in 2007, provides a catch-up service for BBC TV and radio programmes.
But as the iPlayer becomes more bespoke for each user, media commentators have already begun to question the validity of the fixed licence fee paid by the public.

Writing in the Guardian on Sunday, Steve Hewlett wrote: "One question that must surely arise in the unbundled 'My BBC' world is, once I've picked out the bits of the BBC I use and value, why should I pay for the rest?

"And because the technology of on-demand delivery that underpins the whole project allows subscription in a way that broadcast TV and radio don't - at least not easily - 'My BBC' will inevitably in time reignite the question of subscription funding, for some BBC services at least."

A launch is planned in 2014, with content available both in the UK and internationally.

The director general is also planning a new drive focusing on the arts, including a "BBC Arts at" brand, and new partnerships involving the British Museum and the Tate. The BBC's arts coverage will also see a dramatic 20 per cent increase in funding.

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