The BBC Trust has approved a year-long trial project to show all programmes on iPlayer first. Some 40 hours of content across all genres will be made available online ahead of its TV broadcast, technically making every transmission a repeat.
The Beeb has put out online-only content in the past, but this latest green-light means a wider range of normal programming will be web-first. The trial is aimed at broadband-connected Brits who only use iPlayer and make up two per cent of BBC viewers.
Perhaps this project will drive up that percentage, but it certainly shuffles the UK's flagship broadcaster slowly towards a future without broadcast.
The iPlayer service chucked out more than two billion video and radio streams during 2012; the BBC is by far Blighty's dominant TV provider. Not that it's all bad for rival NetFlix and its ilk: the popularity of iPlayer (and free promotion on the BBC) has introduced many to the joy of internet-streamed entertainment.
iPlayer is available on a host of platforms, including all the popular games consoles and mobile gadgets, and delivers the vast majority of Auntie's last week's TV on demand. iPlayer is also central to the YouView platform which plugs streaming services from the UK broadcasters into a video recorder.
Exactly which programmes will end up as iPlayer-first titles the BBC has yet to decide: the first hurdle was to get approval from the trust which oversees how the BBC spends Brits' telly licence fees. Now that's done the production can begin. ®
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