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BBC unveils 2020 vision after iPlayer rejig

ETF: The BBC is changing its approach to commissioning new programmes in line with the tweaks being made to the iPlayer in reaction to rapidly changing viewing habits.

Charlotte Moore

Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content, told delegates at the Edinburgh Television Festival today that the public broadcaster is increasingly looking to commission programmes that will work across both linear channels and BBC iPlayer.

This comes after UK media regulator Ofcom approved the BBC’s move to extend the availability of new shows on its VoD platform to 12 months, with some titles to be available for longer.

Holding on to programmes online for longer will allow viewers who hear about shows via word of mouth to see them, Moore said, adding that this is often beneficial to a programme’s commercial value in secondary windows and international.

The BBC is increasingly seeing its audiences watch via iPlayer than linear TV and as a result is seeing an increasing percentage of audiences coming from viewing in the days after the first transmission.

For example, new drama Mrs Wilson grew by 112% from its overnight audience of 4.6 million to a 28-day four-screen figure of nine million.

In reaction to this, the BBC will make content available for longer on iPlayer as well as bring back previous seasons when new episodes of a programme air and make more use of content from the BBC’s archive.

Moore allayed concerns about the iPlayer changes impinging on producers’ rights to hold on to their own shows under the terms of trade, although this drew a frosty response from John McVay, head of producers’ association Pact, who Tweeted live from the session.

Moore today unveiled numerous commissions, saying they will be “a great offer for audiences however they consume them.”

These include Inside Man, a four-part miniseries produced by Hartswood Films for BBC1 and written by Steven Moffat (Dracula, Sherlock, Doctor Who), about a prisoner on death row in the US and a woman trapped in a cellar under an English vicarage who cross paths. It will go into production in late 2020.

Ridley Road (4×60′), meanwhile, comes from Sarah Solemani (Barry, Aphrodite Fry) and tells the story of one brave young woman’s fight against the rise of fascism on the cusp of the ‘swinging Sixties.’

Described as a thriller inspired by true events, it will be produced by StudioCanal-owned Red Production Company and executive producer Nicola Shindler (Years & Years, Happy Valley, Trust Me, Safe) for BBC1.

When It Happens To You is a Studio Lambert production for BBC1 and comes after the prodco made Three Girls, the multi-award-winning account of the grooming scandal in the UK town of Rochdale.

It will see its writer, Gwyneth Hughes (Doing Money, Vanity Fair), explore the emotive issues around abortion in Northern Ireland and the experience of families and their loved ones whose lives have been profoundly affected by it.

Meanwhile, new comedy Bumps (1×30′), produced by Kudos and written by Lucy Montgomery and Rhys Thomas for BBC1, will follow the challenges faced by a 63-year-old divorcee with two grown-up kids who decides to have a third baby. Unbeknownst to her it happens to be at the same time her 40-year-old daughter discovers she is expecting her first child.

In factual, BBC1 has commissioned A Royal Road to Wembley: Tackling Mental Health (1×60′), a documentary made by Goalhanger Films focusing on men’s mental health through the prism of football, with access to HRH The Duke of Cambridge over the course of a year.

Following the impact of Climate Change: The Facts, the BBC will explore the huge number of species of plants and animals which face extinction and the impact of this loss on the planet and humanity.

Presented by Sir David Attenborough and made by BBC Studios’ science unit, Extinction: The Facts (1×60′) is part of the BBC’s ongoing Our Planet Matters season, which focuses on major environmental and sustainability issues.



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