The BBC has extended the catch-up window for its on-demand iPlayer service from seven to 30 days.
The move, which applies to BBC TV and radio programmes, was introduced over the weekend and follows approval from the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust, in April.
Viewers accessing the iPlayer from computers, tablets and mobile devices will all now get the 30-day programme availability. The BBC is also working with connected TV partners – including Virgin Media TiVo, YouView and BT Vision – which will be able to offer 30-day catch-up from their set-top boxes once they upgrade to the latest version of the iPlayer. Sky has already made the switch to this version.
“BBC iPlayer pioneered online viewing. It is recognised as not just the first, but the best service of its type in the world. It offers amazing value. But we want to go further. That’s why we began reinventing iPlayer earlier this year with a brand new redesign and features,” said BBC director-general, Tony Hall.
“Extending the catch up window to 30 days now makes the best value on-demand service even better. We have a fantastic autumn schedule and the public will now have more opportunities to watch the shows they love.”
The BBC said that while 30 days will now be the default availability period for catch-up content, there will be some exceptions.
A “minority” of programmes will still be available for less than 30 days due to “legal and contractual reasons” such as Crimewatch, news bulletins, and football highlights show Match of the Day, according to head of iPlayer, Dan Taylor-Watt.
However, some programmes, such as BBC Four collections, will be available for longer then 30 days, with some current affairs programmes like Panorama and Question Time to be on iPlayer for a full year.
At launch, the 30-day catch-up window only applies to streamed content, but the BBC has pledged to also extend the window to iPlayer downloads, giving viewers an extra 23 days to watch content offline before the rights expire.
“There is a huge demand to make programmes available for longer on BBC iPlayer – as we continue to see people search for their favourite programmes after the seven day catch-up window. Whether it’s on the bus on their mobile – or on their tablet in bed at night, I’m really pleased that we’re able to give our audiences longer to watch and listen than ever before,” said BBC director of future media, Ralph Rivera.