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iPlayer ‘key to new-look BBC’

MIPCOM: The BBC’s director general Tony Hall wants the UK pubcaster’s VoD service iPlayer to offer a more personalised service and become its “primary digital entertainment destination.”

Hall was outlining his vision for the corporation following his appointment in April, and outlined a leaner structure with more focus on technology and programming.

Changes to iPlayer will allow viewers to access numerous shows before broadcast and open a 30-day catch-up window. Hall also said iPlayer-exclusive content would be produced, following a 40-hour trial run which started in February.

Hall wants the BBC to adapt to the changing demands of audiences who use mobile devices and tablets to watch shows, and will launch time-shifted channel BBC+1.

The organisation will also up its spending on arts programming by 20%, with Hall looking for programming to be “much more ambitious.”

“We need to showcase more of the incredible talent that this country has to offer to the widest possible audiences,” he added.

As part of the drive, the BBC has ordered three new arts-related programmes for BBC1: reality show The Big Picture for primetime, in which amateurs compete to be the UK’s best artist; three-parter The Men Who Invented Scotland, which explores local writers; and five episodes of The Face of Britain, which follows the country’s history through portrait painting.

Hall added: “I want the BBC of the future to have a much closer relationship with audiences. We should be treating them like owners, not just as licence-fee payers.

“Our audiences demand to be involved and expect to participate. In the future they will talk to us and we will listen.”

Hall, who had most recently been CEO of London’s Royal Opera House, took over at the BBC following the departure of George Entwistle and in the wake of the abuse scandal surrounding former presenter Jimmy Savile.


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