More On The BBC’s iPlayer On-Demand; Storage Time Scaled Back

Some more details on the BBC Trust’s final, final go-ahead for the BBC to roll out its iPlayer on-demand plans. The project will offer seven-day TV catch-up over the internet and cable (probably IPTV, digisat and hybrid Freeview/IPTV boxes before you know it) with downloaded programs expiring after 30 days, “series stacking” (making available every episode in a series, seven days after the last one airs, again for a 30-day expiration period), live online TV streaming and podcasts, which have so far been on trial.

The governing BBC Trust provisionally approved the proposal in January but limited program storage time from the proposed 13 weeks, expressed concern about the impact series stacking could have on DVD box set sales and struck off both classical music and audio books from the podcasts plan. But after a public consultation which showed many of the 10,500 respondents greatly in favor of the plans, the Trust has now approved the bulk of the proposal on the condition the BBC makes only 15 percent of the content available via “series stacking”.

After a vocal campaign from digital liberties activists, it also compels the broadcaster to adopt a platform-neutral approach to DRM-encoded downloads, which are scheduled to use the Kontiki software that currently works only on Windows; the Trust said it would audit the BBC’s progress on platform neutrality every six months, but acknowledged “a two year deadline is unworkable because success is dependent on third parties outside of the BBC’s control.’

There is no new date for the iPlayer, which has been under development since 2003, but the BBC will be third to the VOD market amongst the UK’s major networks, with Channel 4 already having launched its 4OD strand and ITV due to add VOD to later today.