iPlayer catch-up window extended to 30 days

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iPlayer's catch-up window will be extended from seven days to 30 in the summer after plans were approved by the BBC Trust.

The trust examined the impact on audiences and on the market, as well as financial implications before making its decision.

Trust vice chairman Diane Coyle said: 'With an average of 10.7 million programme requests every day, BBC iPlayer is highly valued by audiences and has been a phenomenal success since it launched six years ago. It is important that iPlayer continues to evolve and meet the expectations of users.

'We have conducted a thorough assessment of these proposals, including taking independent advice from Ofcom, and concluded that this is a sensible move that will benefit audiences and provide a clearer and more consistent catch-up service.'

In response to the trust's decision, the BBC added: 'New iPlayer already has downloads, better recommendations, HD, live restart, favourites and collections, and extending the catch-up window to 30 days gives people even longer to enjoy their favourite BBC programmes. We will now set about making this happen, with the aim to roll this out from the summer.'

Series stacking

Under the new plans, series stacking - which allows viewers to watch multiple episodes in a TV series for seven days after the last episode airs - will come to an end. The option will still be available for radio programmes, however.

A report commissioned by the BBC and submitted to the trust ahead of making its decision found that series stacking accounted for only 2% of total iPlayer viewing after day seven.

The Mediatique report, which analysed the market, judged that its removal was 'likely to have a limited impact on overall iPlayer consumption'.

The same report analysed the broadband requirements needed to extend the catch-up window to 30 days. It stated: 'The proposed changes to the BBC's on-demand permissions do impose additional requirements on broadband to deliver additional on-demand viewed hours.

'We estimate that the proposed change leads to a 4% increase in the scale of catch-up consumption, although this is unlikely to represent a material change in broadband consumption.'

One of the report's conclusions is that the overall impact to the TV market would be 'relatively modest'.

A letter from Ofcom to the BBC Trust regarding the plans concluded 'that the potential impacts on others of the BBC's proposal to extend the catch-up window on iPlayer for television and radio programmes would be unlikely to be material'.

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