The long touted TV on-demand online software will enable the public to have access to previously shown BBC programmes, letting it compete with the likes of Sky's Anytime service and ITV's increasingly diverse range on online broadcasts at ITV.com.
Diane Coyle, BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust’s PVT Steering Group, said in a statement: "Thanks to the thorough assessment through the Public Value Test, and with the modifications which resulted from the test and the consultation, the Trust is satisfied that the BBC's new on-demand services will create significant public value with limited market impact. We have therefore given our final approval for the services to be launched."
Unfortunately however what Coyle fails to mention – and is typical of many BBC Trust investigations – is that a number of compromises have been made to the finished iPlayer (previously codenamed 'iMP') software.
Keymost among them is the Trust's decision to implement DRM into its downloads despite what the Trust referred to as "strong public demand for platform neutrality". iPlayer has also been confirmed as Windows only compatible while 'Series Stacking' (like Series Link in Sky) has been limited to a 15 per cent annual quota for all public downloads thus limiting the amount of programmes you can reserve in this manner.
Furthermore, the Trust has cut the download window to 30 days from the date of first broadcast. It had been hoped this would be as long as 13 weeks.
Still, web access to BBC programming has been notoriously limited and this is certainly a (cautious) step in the right direction. Now eagle eyes at the ready for an official release date...