One of the drawbacks of any watch-on-demand service, including the BBC’s iPlayer, is the current restriction that the programmes must be downloaded and watched within seven days of transmission (due to the rights deal struck with Pact, the UK association that represents the commercial interests of independent media companies), enforced by DRM.
On Friday, the BBC reached a settlement with Pact. (Despite Ofcom’s industry deadline of the end of May, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five have still to send up the white smoke on their new media agreements.)
Viewers will be able to catch up on any episodes of a series they have missed on-demand while the series is still going out.
So as long as the last episode of the current Spooks season hasn’t been broadcast, you’ll be able to watch the entire series. Handy if you only get hooked on a programme half way into a series.
Viewers will also be able to download and store programmes locally to view later. Once accessed, they have seven days to view them.
It’s like a video tape that self destructs seven days only after you start to watch the programme. So set your PC to record before going off on that world tour, and the programmes you miss will still be there waiting for you when you return.
Commercial video-on-demand rights will be available to exploit in the UK for the first time. Independents will also have greater freedom to exploit other new media rights and enjoy an improved share of revenue from commercial exploitation in the UK.In addition the BBC will simplify and streamline its procedures in relation to its holdback policy – making the use of independent programmes in the UK much easier and more straightforward.
Good news for the consumer and the independent production companies.