FT: on BBC project Barcelona

Financial Times: BBC to expand in paid digital video fray

BBC Director General Mark Thompson on the offering:

“The BBC’s iPlayer is the most successful and most intensively used catch-up service in the world but it’s true that, after that seven-day public service window, a large proportion of what the BBC makes and broadcast is never seen or heard of again.

“On television, despite all of our existing forms of public service archival and commercial windowing, more than 90 per cent of what the BBC commissions and broadcasts becomes unavailable when that iPlayer window expires. We want to change that… so that if you wanted to purchase a digital copy of a programme to own and keep, you could pay what would generally be a relatively modest charge for doing so.”

About time. As viewing is shifting from the traditional terrestrial distribution on a TV set to satellites and, above all, online, it’s to time for broadcasters to adapt or become irrelevant. A minority of young people watch traditional TV, while they sample a huge amount of online content. Apple showed the way by providing paid content online, legally, through iTunes. That was a major change, considering that, until then, music rights holders were complaining about piracy, but were unwilling to accept the fact that people were willing to pay for content, if it was offered at an acceptable price and at acceptable conditions. Speaking of acceptable conditions, get rid of the ridiculous geographic restrictions: there is a single, global market, ready to pay for quality content. If content owners are not ready to sell their material, viewers will find a way of getting it anyway, even if they have to pirate it.