Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Your favourite auntie, Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content says: “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without finding an extra little something beneath the tree and this year we want to offer something for everyone, with more than 100 box sets just waiting to be unwrapped. It’s a very special collection of British programming that we know people will love and a chance for everybody to spoil themselves with some real treats over the Christmas period.”

There may be some nostril-flaring at Ofcom over this. They want a formal public interest test conducted before the BBC goes further down this route. Imagine the ruckus if, in the early days of DVDs, the BBC had loaned all licence fee payers 100 box sets for a month from December 12. Our Price and HMV might as well have stopped filling shelves.

Last Christmas' stats show that from Christmas Day to New Year's Eve, iPlayer served up a total of 69.2 million requests and 25.6 million hours of content, up from 58.6m requests and 22.5m hours watched over the same period last year. The increase was put down to box sets, with seasons of Peaky Blinders racking up a total of 8 million requests, and the final episode of season 4 - 'The Company' - pulling in 1,397,000.

I'm not sure of the BBC's long-term strategy here. Maybe they think this regular move will dent Amazon and Netflix subscriptions, but what does it do to their own ambitions of secondary fees from a streaming service, Kangaroo 2 - or plans to break up UKTV ?

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