BBC Could Be Planning iTunes Rival

The BBC could be putting together a digital download service designed to offer new and old content for a set price in a move that could rival iTunes if done effectively.

According to the report by PaidContent, the new service will make use of a new standard known as "Download to Own" which will allow people to keep copies of the shows forever once paid for. This is somewhat of a first as few companies have ever been happy about allowing permanent digital (especially HD) versions of their content to be kept, but we'll see.

The proposed price for these shows is £1.89 and the umbrella name for the whole scheme at the moment is Barcelona. Apparently the BBC has been working on this for quite some time, looking to negotiate rights with producers of shows to allow them to sell through the new platform.

The competitive angle comes in when you consider that the BBC is looking to offer the creators of shows £0.40 per download, as opposed to the current iTunes offer of £0.28. It is thought that the broadcaster will handle all encoding and distribution of the products.

It seems likely that this new service won't be a separate piece of software or application, but will simply add a download link to certain pages of the iPlayer which has already proved itself a highly successful solution for increasing the exposure of certain content. One caveat with it though has been the limited time shows are made available.