BBC Will Open iPlayer Platform To Competitors

Erik Huggers, Director of Future Media & Technology at the BBC, told an audience at the IBC Conference in Amsterdam that the Beeb will be opening iPlayer to third parties.

Huggers confirmed plans to push th concept of federation, carefully avoiding labeling the plans as aggregation. He said that “It is about making sure each of the broadcasters around the world can continue to have a direct relationship with their users.”

Data presented at IBC shows that a significant amount of searches on the iPlayer target content from BBC's commercial rival, ITV, such as Coronation street or X-factor.

This Open iPlayer, formerly known as Project Marquee, still needs to get the approval of the BBC Trust but is likely to get the green light because of the global interest expressed in the technology.

This could take the form of an open source environment the corporation would then share or license to other broadcasters. Kangaroo might be dead (having been acquired by Arqiva) but it looks as if it might get a second chance.

Apart from Kangaroo (which was shot down by the Competitions Commission), the BBC has been a major backer of Free to Air service, Freesat (together with ITV) as well as freeview-over-broadband Canvas (with BT and ITV).

BBC's iPlayer has been the corporation most successful online venture of the past few years, having attracted more than 500 million views to date; there are 23 different versions of the platform available.

Our Comments

Back in February 2008, we wrote about a P2P platform called Tribler in which BBC was participating. Backed by millions from the European commission, Tribler is supposed to be a super torrent client. It will be interesting to see whether the BBC can integrate this technology into the iPlayer to solve the bandwidth issue.

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