BBC plotting major iPlayer improvements, but at expense of other services

The BBC has a plan to help iPlayer “leap ahead” of rival streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, and it involves cutting several chunks of its website, a new report claims.

It’s set to kill off the BBC Earth and BBC Arts sections of its site, according to the Telegraph (via PA), and will instead focus on improving eight key areas further, the most important of which is − surprise, surprise − iPlayer.

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The other seven are said to be news, music and spoken word, weather, sport, children’s content, BBC Bitesize and the BBC home page. These, along with iPlayer, are reportedly responsible for more than 90% of the BBC’s online audience.

“In the global market, against well-resourced competitors, we have to concentrate on a smaller number of services that deliver our best content online,” BBC director general Tony Hall reportedly told BBC staff on Monday.

And a BBC insider added: “We are already evolving BBC iPlayer to reflect changing patterns of consumption. iPlayer set the standard that others have followed. We need to leap ahead once more.”

BBC iPlayer had a record-breaking month in July, thanks largely to its impressive 4K HDR coverage of World Cup 2018.

“The second half of the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon helped BBC iPlayer grow 19 per cent year-on-year in July, with requests reaching 281 million for the month,” the BBC announced this week.

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“Given the amount of sport available to watch, July was inevitably a big month for live viewing, making up 22 per cent of all requests, but in fact June was even bigger.

“Thanks to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, live TV requests went up to 26 per cent of all requests on BBC iPlayer − the highest share of live viewing since the Rio Olympics 2016.”

Along with BBC Earth and BBC Arts, the BBC is reportedly also planning to cut down on features and celebrity gossip.

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