BBC iPlayer Will Link To Commercial VOD Services

Having seen its benevolent intention to share the technology of its iPlayer VOD service with commercial broadcasters blocked by its regulator, the BBC will instead link iPlayer users out to counterparts’ own VOD sites.

Inclusion of catch-up programme data from ITV (LSE: ITV) Player, 4oD, S4/Click, Demand Five and SeeSaw in to iPlayer’s own EPG comes as part of commitment to double the number of outbound links sends, and is the most unexpected feature amongst several announced for a third-generation iPlayer on Wednesday.

“This is about the BBC driving more traffic to the ecosystem of other on-demand players out there,” BBC future media and technology director Erik Huggers said at a briefing.

“That’s just the start. These are the first partners we are announcing today. It’s an open programme. If Sky wants to be part of that, we very much welcome their participation. They haven’t said anything at this point – they are considering.”

The move could mean an influx of traffic for any participating VOD services, all of which are trying hard to commercialise the growing opportunity of web video advertising. And, with many competing web TV aggregators still jostling for position, it will likely finally give iPlayer status as the UK public’s favoured web catch-up on-ramp – effectively creating an aggregator on

A lot of people search (iPlayer) for (ITV’s) Coronation Street, people don’t actually think about where the content comes from,” the BBC’s future media and technology vision and online controller Anthony Rose told paidContent:UK.

Linked-up broadcasters’ shows will also benefit from several new social features that have long been expected and which were also announced for iPlayer’s third-gen upgrade on Wednesday…