BBC ready to fight iTunes with cheaper TV show downloads
The BBC is planning to fight iTunes at its own game by making its massive catalogue of old and new TV shows available to download at cheaper prices. Negotiations are underway with producers to get the go ahead, in a deal that could see them get more profit from downloads, while TV-loving couch potatoes get a bigger choice of shows to watch.
Through its BBC iPlayer service, TV license payers are already able to view new and old radio shows up to 30 days after they have been aired. Once that period is over, the rights for the shows go to the producers.
A BBC-formed iTunes rival (codenamed Project Barcelona), paidContent reports, would see the shows permanently appear available for download for as little as £1.89 per episode. That’s the same as Apple charges for older shows, but it is suggested that the BBC will offer newer shows at cheaper prices.
Such a deal could be a win for both audiences and producers. Audiences will have access to even more BBC shows than are currently available, and producers will get a greater commission than they do from iTunes. It is reported that producers will get an average of 40 pence per £1.89 episode, compared to 28 pence from iTunes. Apple takes a 30 per cent commission.
The BBC is hoping the plan will help producers make more money. And if that happens we’re likely to see more shows hit the service ready to watch on our telly.
However, it’s not all plain-sailing, negotiations are still underway, and an agreement has yet to be made, with some independent producers reluctant to hand over rights to the BBC for fear of eating into DVD sales.
However, the BBC has promised producers that they may give rights to other stores, including iTunes. Whatever the outcome, we can all agree that more choice is a good thing. The more shows available to watch, the better. Watch this space for more developments as we hear them.