Trust approves 30-day catch up window for BBC iPlayer

Date: 04.04.2014     Last updated: 23.09.2014 at 09.50

The BBC Trust has approved proposals from the BBC Executive to extend the catch-up window for programmes on BBC iPlayer from seven to 30 days.

The decision follows a formal assessment of the significance of the plans and advice from Ofcom on the potential impact of the proposals on others.

The catch-up extension will mean that programmes will be available on iPlayer to stream or download for 30 days after they are first broadcast, rather than the current seven days. The changes are expected to be implemented from this summer.

The Trust’s assessment, published today, looked at the likely impact on audiences and on the market; the novelty and duration of proposals; and their financial implications. The Trust also took account of the advice from Ofcom.

BBC 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."

Under the plans approved by the Trust, the current ‘series stacking’ option, where multiple episodes of a TV series can be downloaded retrospectively, will end, although it will still be available for radio programmes. Instead, individual TV episodes will be available for longer under the 30 day extension. 

The Trust’s conclusions can be found below.  Ofcom’s advice can be found here.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Trust’s original approval of BBC iPlayer in 2007 can be found here.
  2. More information on the significance assessments carried out by the Trust can be found here.
  3. The Trust will update the individual television service licences and the BBC Online and Red Button service licence, to reflect the changes it has approved.

The BBC commissioned Mediatique to consider the implications of an extended 30-day window; this was submitted to the Trust along with the BBC’s application. The report can be found below.