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Look out, Netflix! BBC is launching a rival subscription service

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The conundrum of how we should fund the BBC hasn’t been solved just yet, but this may be the first inkling of a decent solution.

The BBC plans to launch a paid-for subscription service for on-demand video, in a bid to take on more contemporary rivals like Netflix and Amazon. The launch has been green-lit by officials after extensive talks with prospective partners like ITV and NBC back in March this year.

According to the Guardian, the BBC is likely to charge viewers to watch BBC programmes “after the 30-day window in which they are currently available to watch for free on the iPlayer has expired”. There’s also some speculation that the service will feature at least some original content, as well as content from other providers – like ITV – so that the content offering is sufficiently substantial.

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Speaking to the Telegraph, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said:

We’re moving into a different world where more and more content is going to be made available on demand. Collaboration with other broadcasters and other production companies we think is important.”

It’s not yet clear how much consumers will be charged to access the subscription service, or whether merely having a backlog of old content provides enough of an incentive for users to cough up cash. At present, the BBC is funded through the licence fee, a £145.50 yearly bill – that’s £12.13 per month, far higher than the £7.99 charged by Netflix.

The BBC has already confirmed that no existing shows will be hidden behind a paywall as part of the subscription service launch. The Telegraph reports one BBC source as saying: “It’s not like you’d have to pay for a second series of Night Manager.”

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How much would you be willing to pay for a BBC subscription service? Let us know in the comments.

Bugblatter

May 16, 2016, 3:06 pm

I'm wondering just how many of these services I'm going to have to cough-up for to avoid missing content. The more services there are the less there will be on each one.

cleanupcars

May 18, 2016, 5:05 pm

If you subscribe to this proposed BBC on-demand video service, will it work outside UK? If yes, there is potentially a massive market out there, not least from ex-pats.

The BBC content archive is unrivalled, so if managed and marketed well, it will likely be a great success. If the BBC also helps make a dent in UK's massive trade deficit, then it is to be applauded.

A further benefit is that if BBC derives a bigger slice of its revenue from commercial activity rather than licence fee, there should be less reason for the likes of the culture minister to interfere in its affairs and attempt to emasculate the BBC..

I can imagine that certain well known media-owner moguls are unhappy at the prospect of such a formidable entrant into what they see as their home territory without throwing as much mud as possible at the BBC. We live in interesting times.

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