The BBC is going to require users to log in to access content on iPlayer from early 2017.
As part of the BBC iD programme the corporation intends to use watchers' personal accounts to collect data on its audience's interests to tailor its programming. The BBC stated: “TV Licensing will have access to the information but … it will not be used for enforcement purposes.”
BBC iD accounts are not currently required in order to access iPlayer, although they are required for users of BBC Online services who wish to comment, play games and write reviews. Commenters are required to provide a date of birth, and from Tuesday, iD holders will also have to add a postcode to their account information.
The BBC said there are currently seven million iD accounts.
Among the corporation's many projects to justify its own existence is the MyBBC project, which intended to help Auntie collect more accurate data on audiences and provide programmes that reflect their preferences on services such as iPlayer.
Unfortunately the £75m project has been criticised and delayed, and managed to evade a fair bit of scrutiny too as managers invented benefits as they went along.
The login scheme may be used for enforcement purposes in the future, however, and the BBC's own media correspondent considered that “the inclusion of a postcode as part of the new compulsory sign-up information certainly suggests it could be a way of alerting TV licensing to homes that currently don't have a licence but are watching the iPlayer.” ®