BBC surrenders 'linear' exclusivity to compete with binge-watch Netflix

Vows to dump entire series on iPlayer before they air on TV


The BBC is abandoning linear exclusivity as it goes for broke to make the iPlayer a global Netflix rival. The corporation says it will throw entire series on to the on-demand streaming service before the first episode in a series is even broadcast on terrestrial TV.

Director-General Tony Hall will call for the BBC to "reinvent public broadcasting for a new generation in order to compete against giants such as Netflix and Amazon" this morning.

Hall has set two targets: double the number of visits to iPlayer and quadruple the time a user spends on the iPlayer site by 2020.

Established broadcasters have faced increasing pressure from OTT providers in recent years. Netflix spent more on content (buying and licensing it) than the BBC or HBO last year. Netflix made "binge watching" series cheap and easy – previously you'd need to buy an expensive box set, and those usually sold to fans.

But for the BBC to follow suit and dump entire series on the internet at once means surrendering one of its key advantages: its ability to create artificial scarcity. Withholding episodes creates "event TV" – a common cultural experience – and results in increased attention. As Enders Analysis points out, live viewing has fallen 19 per cent since 2010 as time-shifted viewing making up about 40 per cent of the decline. "Linear remains vital," the consultancy warns.

The BBC also has another disadvantage against Netflix – it doesn't know who is watching. So it's expected to offer more sticks and carrots to induce UK users to log in.

For eight years the UK broadcasters have been handicapped by an Ofcom decision forbidding them from pooling their resources behind a common streaming platform. The regulator decreed that "Project Kangaroo" was anti-competitive after complaints from Sky and Virgin. But rather than impose rules, Ofcom decided Kangaroo must die. If it had launched, perhaps it would now be a "British TV" service to rival Netflix. The decision forced the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to each create their own apps. ®

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading
  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022