Would you be willing pay for the BBC's iPlayer content?

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by razorianfly, Mar 3, 2008.


Would you pay for the BBC iPlayer or the content it offers?

  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
  2. No

    17 vote(s)
  1. razorianfly macrumors 65816


    Oct 16, 2007
    Cheshire, United Kingdom
    As reported by the BBC, the Mac client of the popular client is said to be under development and touted for a release 'sometime' this year. Currently Mac users are unable to download and save the iPlayer's content to their hard drives, whereas PC users can. At the same time as this being announced the BBC also revealed it's plans to bring it's iPlayer service to iPod touch and iPhone platform. According to the Gaurdian, Ashley Highfield, director of future media and technology, as well as stating the service would work over Wifi only (no EDGE), said the service would be available "within the next few weeks". This was on Wednesday, 20th February 2008.

    There are only two ways which the BBC can integrate this service. One involves Apple, and the other doesn't.

    Either, they plan to drop flash enitrely, convert or re-encode the content into H.264 and give us an 'iphone' formatted page through Safari.


    Apple and the BBC are to announce a native application for the touch platform (tying in with the SDK) which would function as youtube.app does now. It would grab content from the BBC's iPlayer and display it in a nicely formatted end-user application

    Both options require a constant wifi connection - slight down side.

    Now if the BBC were to choose the first option, obviously no charges will be implemented, and the user would be able to access the content freely.

    If however I am right in saying that Apple and the BBC plan to release a native application for the touch platform, they wouldn't go to all the trouble of developing an end-user experience for the iPhone or re-code all of their content into H.264 (as youtube did), without profit being in the equation. Apple, apparently, currently take a cut from your searches for videos through the youtube.app application, as it's owned by Google. The same is said for Google being build into mobile Safari. Hence the only reason the applications are on there in the first place, because Apple gains sustainable profit.

    I see Apple (and the BBC) possibly offering the BBC iPlayer within a software upgrade (rather like the 'January Software Update' which has proven quite popular and successful) for a price of $20-30, again through iTunes, using the same method of download 1.1.3 offered. Each user would be able to upgrade to v1.1.5 (or 1.2.0?), freely, and if you wanted, you'd pay extra for iPlayer.app. Possibly integrating the same cut from user searches, to help maintain the service.

    The question is, if this was to come to fruition would you pay for the BBC iPlayer and it's content, knowing quite well that PC users are happily, and freely, downloading and saving the content to their hard-drives?

    If it was well implemented like this:

    1. Current UI of 'youtube.app'
    2. There were no 'charge per view' restrictions

    I would we willing to drop the cash for it, here in the UK.

    (voted Yes)

    If you vote, please post why or why not, thanks! :)

  2. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

    Apr 29, 2004
    London, UK
    I would rather they just used a different type of DRM that worked with both OSX and Windows.

    Then we could just download onto our macs and convert ourselves.
  3. markfc macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    Prestatyn, Wales, UK
    I won't be willing to pay anything for this extra services as it's paid for from our licence fee!!!
  4. bilbo.baggins macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    The BBC iPlayer download software for the PC is free as it allows UK residents to download content they have already paid for via their TV licence (well, the vast majority do).

    The BBC iPlayer 'on-demand' service is also free to UK residents for the same reason.

    The BBC have a very tight charter which I am sure would exclude either the BBC from making money from UK residents who have already paid, or a third party doing so, so I am sure it will not be a chargeable app. However, the BBC is very keen to make money from people not resident in the UK, so I would expect something to appear that is a hybrid between iPlayer and the BBC shows on iTunes (payable per show) once the UK version is bedded in.

    Back to the UK 'on demand' version for the iPhone/Touch. By far the simplest option is to convert to H.264. There's bandwidth/quality benefits for doing this anyway for all content, so I expect this to happen whether there is a new App or just a 'revamped' webpage.
  5. Loge macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2004
    iPlayer is not being charged for on other platforms, so I do not see the rationale for charging for an iPhone/touch version. The catch-up content that expires should not be charged either, for reasons explained by poster above (and again consistency).
  6. razorianfly thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 16, 2007
    Cheshire, United Kingdom
    From an article I just stumbled upon:

    "The iPlayer will be available on the iPhone and Touch in “the next few weeks”. Rose said of the development: “It will be the first of a transformation in people streaming long-form content onto a portable device.”

    It will only work through wifi and is possible because of the devices’ good web support. Rose said the BBC would decide whether to extend to other mobiles depending on their platforms and reach.

    This is excellent news. Previously, though, I identified two main problems with streaming:

    bandwidth requirements
    transcoding into an iPhone-playable format

    So how did the BBC solve these issues?

    Delivering solely over Wifi steps around the iPhone’s EDGE mobile connectivity (and the iPod Touch having none at all), and is understandable given the bandwidth requirement for streaming. There’s already an agreement with The Cloud to provide free BBC content without needing a subscription - iPlayer access via the iPhone/iPod Touch will now be included in this. This does fall a little short of a mobile iPlayer though, seeing as it only works over Wifi which lacks the ubiquity of cellular coverage. This is more of a limitation of the iPhone than anything else, but it could mean that truely mobile iPlayer on the iPhone only come into its own once a 3G iPhone is released."

    There are rumours that Flash will be appearing in the next firmware upgrade, but the BBC’s decision avoids that requirement. Hopefully, they will not move away from Flash - the ease of use and cross-platform availablility of iPlayer has been the source of its success, I’d argue. But moving to a H.264 stream as well mean that the iPhone will play iPlayer content without worrying about needing a firmware upgrade. This is great for UK iPhone users, but this stream will be even easier to capture and save, so I wonder what protection the BBC will put in place?

    Also, the reference to “good web support” indicates that this will be a web app rather than a native application for the iPhone, although Rose could be referring to the underlying networking frameworks of mobile OS X.

    The extension of the iPlayer platform bodes well for major changes to the ways in which people watch tv. Nokia may have just included DVB-H in the N96, but I wonder how much live tv will be taken up if streamable content passes the “good enough” test. For now though, as long as I can get BBC shows direct to my iPhone, I’m happy, and I’ll let someone else worry about the finances and the future.


  7. eplchamps0304 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    BBC content will be free from the BBC, however apple may charge you to access it through iTunes. Example: the PBS program Horizons is available for free on the PBS website, but iTunes charges you $1.99 for the episodes. BBC will never charge you no matter where you are, what they do is block some programming to streamers outside the uk. E.g. Live soccer
  8. great high wolf macrumors regular

    great high wolf

    Jan 30, 2006

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