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BBC iPlayer is "Doing a Netflix" and Making TV Programmes Purely for the Interweb

By Chris Mills on at

So apparently Auntie Beeb is so rolling in creative dough it can afford to splash out on programming that will never actually make it to the TV airwaves. In the same vein as Netflix's House of Cards, the BBC has commissioned a series of drama short films that'll only ever see the light of day on iPlayer.

The as-of-yet unannounced series builds on the BBC's previous dabbling in the shallow end of online-only content -- last year, we got comedy show pilots and some Doctor Who miniseries on iPlayer only. According to the BBC gal in charge of iPlayer:

“This ambitious new strand builds on BBC iPlayer as a creative platform to bring original British drama to audiences online, and explores storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration.  Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they choose.”

Which, aside from the horrific over-use of sound-bite bullshit, seems to be a cunning new way of seeing if ideas float before putting them on the semi-big screen, helping "to give new talent exposure and hone their skills away from the TV but still reach a relevant audience". Or in other words, bunging it on iPlayer first allows the BBC to get direct metrics on how many people viewed it, and whether it's worthwhile taking it forward. Experiment on iPlayer, see what sticks. Smart move, I guess.