BBC Finally Turns iPlayer In To A VOD TV Aggregator

Commercial public TV broadcasters are about to get a big boost to their web-based VOD services from the BBC.

Nine months after it first announced it, the BBC has finally started including in BBC iPlayer linked VOD listings for counterpart sites.

As expected, partners are channels from ITV (LSE: ITV), Channel Four, Channel Five, S4C and SeeSaw – but a surprise edition is MSN Video Player, the aggregator spearheaded by former iPlayer chief Ashley Highfield at Microsoft.

This is a big deal because iPlayer is the most popular TV catch-up site in the UK, and has virtually become a byword for the whole VOD phenomenon it has helped popularise.

The BBC had initially invited counterparts to share iPlayer’s technology or host their shows on the service, but broadcasters were reticent and it was blocked by the BBC Trust.

Now, the likes of ITV Player and 4oD are finding growing audiences on their own websites and are gung-ho about the prospects for making money with pre-roll video ads. iPlayer will likely swell their traffic to a welcome degree.

Most people understand that iPlayer only hosts BBC (and some S4C) material. But iPlayer is such a well-recalled brand name, it’s likely many others search it for Coronation Street regardless. Now they can find it there.

iPlayer website users can find programmes from the commercial broadcasters in search and in a special new section on the homepage.