Not too long ago the BBC 'closed the iPlayer loophole', to stop people watching catch-up services if they didn't have a TV license. Now the Corporation has announced that, starting sometime next year, users will need an account to access the service.
The BBC states that this is ensure the service becomes more personalised, and tailored to users' individual needs. Account systems are already in place for users take advantage of features like favourites and cross-device pause-and-resume, but a new, more robust, system will launching this week. Logging in won't actually become a mandatory part of using iPlayer until next year.
BBC News claims that the new account system will require users to enter their postcode, but the BBC has denied that the new system will be used to enforce the license free. Personally I find it hard to believe that this isn't going to be used to close off access to people with out licenses, especially since there's nothing stopping people from lying and continue watching content without paying.
Helen Boaden, the BBC's Director of Radio, said:
"Some of you might be thinking that this is driven by the changes to the so-called 'iPlayer loophole' which means you now need a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand on iPlayer. It's not – it's about giving you a better BBC. As we said earlier this month, we'll carry on using our existing enforcement processes and techniques which we believe to be adequate and appropriate. In fact, early TV Licensing data shows that – as we expected - significant numbers of new people have bought a licence since the new rules came into force."
Boaden did confirm, however, that the Government has asked the corporation to look into whether or not some sort of iPlayer verification system is required - something outlined in the new BBC Charter set to come into place next year. While the BBC has until 2020 to report its findings and make a decision on the matter, it doesn't mean they can't start preparing by implementing similar features now. [BBC via Engadget]