The BBC has proposed a number of changes to the BBC iPlayer and provided its plans to Ofcom for consideration.
In order to protect fair and effective competition in the TV sector, Ofcom examines whether changes which the BBC wishes to make to its licence fee-funded TV, radio and online services are significant enough to merit detailed scrutiny.
Ofcom has decided the BBC’s proposed iPlayer changes are material (PDF, 303 KB), and the BBC should conduct a ‘public interest test’ to properly assess their value and potential impact on other broadcasters.
One point in the report states – While the BBC faces increasing competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, in the UK it remains a large organisation with a unique funding mechanism. This allows it to offer content to UK audiences, free of charge and free from advertising, in a way that others cannot. Changes it makes will have positive effects: the BBC may enhance public value and may encourage competition by offering more choice, stimulating demand, or promoting innovation, which benefits UK audiences. However, some changes the BBC proposes may also harm competition and UK broadcasters; for example, by crowding out investment in UK content and services from other com panies, which could ultimately reduce choice for viewers and listeners.