First consultation: Proposed changes to BBC iPlayer - call for evidence

  • Start: 25 April 2019
  • Status: Closed
  • End: 10 May 2019

Last year, we required the BBC to undertake a public interest test (PIT) to allow a public examination of changes to BBC iPlayer. The BBC had taken the view that changes planned for 2018 and 2019 were not ‘material’ and therefore did not require a PIT. Audiences enjoy access to a wide range of new TV services, being able to watch video-on-demand (VOD) services from multi-national companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as VOD services provided by the UK Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs). Therefore, we were encouraged that the BBC was seeking to evolve and adapt its services and noted its ambition to accelerate and invest more in BBC iPlayer development. However, we disagreed with the BBC’s assessment on the need for a public process and told it to look at a longer-term strategy for transforming BBC iPlayer, so the effects on all interested parties can be properly understood.

We are opening a BBC Competition Assessment. Our role under the Charter and Agreement is to assess whether the public value of the proposed change justifies any adverse impact on fair and effective competition. Our assessment includes reviewing the procedures followed by the BBC and its public value assessment; and assessing the impact of the proposal on fair and effective competition. After this we will decide either that the BBC may carry out the change to BBC iPlayer, that it may not, or that it may do so subject to conditions. We can also require the BBC to reconsider aspects of the proposal.

This consultation is to ask stakeholders for their views on:

  • how they might be affected by the BBC’s proposals; and
  • whether our planned analysis will address the main issues raised by the proposals.

We are specifically seeking evidence now from stakeholders on how the BBC’s proposals will affect their existing businesses or investment plans.

After considering responses and further analysis, we expect to consult on our provisional conclusions in June, allowing stakeholders a final opportunity to comment. We then expect to issue a final decision by August.

Responding to this consultation

Please submit responses using the consultation responses form (RTF, 1.4 MB).


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