The BBC Is Planning Its Own Paid Download Service to Compete With iTunes

By Sam Gibbs on at

We heard rumours back in January that the BBC was thinking about making pay-per-view access to its back catalogue available through iPlayer. Now it seems the Beeb is looking to take things one step further with a download-to-own service, codenamed Barcelona, that'll see its entire library, new and old, available to buy from £1.89 a show.

When the BBC iPlayer was launched it centred around a clunky DRM-laced download system rather than the streaming iPlayer we know and love today. The BBC is proposing to run both services, with the now standard catch-up window that lasts for up to 30 days, plus the ability to purchase and download shows to keep immediately after broadcast as well as from the back-catalogue.

According to PaidContent, the BBC is currently in negotiations with hesitant independent producers, collectively known as Pact, who make a range of BBC shows. Auntie is offering them a bigger slice of the revenue pie than what they would normally get through the likes of iTunes, but they're apparently worried it'll cut into the profitable DVD sales market.

Even if the BBC manages to get content producers on board, project Barcelona would still have to get clearance from the BBC executive and the BBC Trust -- which has already stamped all over some of the Beeb's previous projects.

Would you pay money, on top of your licence fee, to be able to download and own BBC shows? No doubt they'd be wrapped in DRM tighter than a duck's butt, which might interfere with your attempts to play them on your device of choice. Then again, the BBC might make them all available through its various iPlayer apps, which would have iOS, Android and various other set-top boxes covered, plus the desktop of course.

I can't say I've ever been particularly keen on buying TV shows myself -- I'm unlikely to ever re-watch them once I've seen them for the first time. I'd be much more inclined to pay less, say 99p, to rent a show for 24 hours, but then you could argue that I've already done that with my £145.50 licence fee. Still, I'd welcome another option, even if I'm unlikely to ever use it. [PaidContent]

Image credit: m0gky from flickr