As Netflix and other companies launch own-content and online only content the BBC will premier a new BBC One Comedy program on BBC iPlayer before being broadcast on BBC One. Comedian Peter Kay’s Car Share is part of BBC iPlayer’s strategy to showcase a wider range of TV content.
The six part sitcom created by Tim Reid and Paul Coleman, and directed by Peter Kay, is the first-ever series to premiere on BBC iPlayer in its entirety before a television transmission, as part of a 40 hour content trial that showcases programming via iPlayer.
Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One, said in a statement, “It is hugely exciting that Peter Kay is coming to BBC One with his new series – even more so with the innovative plan we have to launch the show online.”
Launched on Christmas Day in 2007, iPlayer has been available on mobile platforms, for a number of years, following the iOS Beta launch in 2008, and a glance around an average London Tube carriage on any weekday illustrates the success of the initiative, which is used by around 1/2 of all British households serving at least 140 million program requests per month. iPlayer is available outside the UK, with most radio broadcasts available for free, and a paid version in Europe providing access to some television programming and this model is likely to be the way the US market develops for iPlayer.
“It is hugely exciting that Peter Kay is coming to BBC One with his new series – even more so with the innovative plan we have to launch the show online.”
— Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One
Premiering content on iPlayer may well herald the development of iPlayer almost as a stand-alone channel – one that provides access to programming that may not make it to BBC 1 or 2 with the platform used as sounding board similar to how BBC 3 has been used in the past. The opportunity to monetise content in other markets is one that’s hard to resist despite the complex licensing issues that must be addressed. What this development does show though, is that despite recent criticism of the BBC following cancellation of its £100 million Digital Media Initiative is that the Corporation is committed to technology development to help it address the needs of domestic and overseas customers.
The BBC has an obligation to its domestic customers, as licence payers, to deliver programming – and as the viewing and listening experience changes from radio to digital to mobile the BBC needs to facilitate the changing needs of its audience; a development like the amalgamation of other broadcasters program links into the iPlayer interface was a good example of how these needs were being met.
The global audience have no licence payer rights but have shown they are willing to pay for quality programming. Offsetting operating costs by increasing subscription and advertising revenue is too attractive to ignore. One benefit for the BBC and program makers, particularly niche program makers is that the platform and access to markets may make it economically viable to commission programming that appeals to smaller audiences, something that was impossible with two, or even four terrestrial channels.
Niche programming could give a small sector of the UK audience what they want, connect with a diaspora overseas and monetisation and social satisfaction for the BBC itself. iPlayer on mobile may be a small screen, but the world is watching.
External links & References
- Peter Kay Official Website
- BBC Comedy : iPlayer
- Mobile Devices are taking over Content Creation: Liliana Dumitru-Steffens
- BBC Learning: Fill lunchtimes with language : RedCert.com