BBC iPlayer extends catch-up to 30 days, ‘series stacking’ moth-balled

BBC iPlayer’s catch-up service will soon be available for longer after the BBC Trust agreed to new proposals to strengthen the service that will also see the ‘series stacking’ option discontinued.

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Under the new plans, content will be available for 30 days as opposed to the current seven days and comes after a lengthily assessment of the impact such plans would have including input from Ofcom.

"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,” said BBC Trust vice chairman Diane Coyle.

The assessment made by the BBC Trust looked at the impact the latest decision will have on audiences and the market as a whole, the novelty and duration of the proposals, as well as the financial implications.

As part of the new iPlayer rules, ‘series stacking’, where multiple episodes could be downloaded retrospectively, has been discontinued but will remain in place for radio programming.

The BBC Trust decided to remove the series stacking option as just 15 per cent of on-demand content could be used in this way and as such it calculated that it contributes to just two per cent of iPlayer viewing after day seven. Further to this, 2013 BBC research showed that almost 40 per cent did not know the service existed and 29 per cent of those that were aware it existed had no used it.

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All in all the BBC executive expects the changes to lead to a four per cent increase in the number of hours of programmes watched on catch-up services by 2018.

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