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BBC iPlayer reinvented to help to win back talent like Phoebe Waller-Bridge

The i logo The i 07/10/2019
a screen shot of a person © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

A total transformation of the iPlayer will persuade star names like Phoebe Waller-Bridge to keep making shows for the BBC, corporation bosses believe.

Announcing the biggest revamp of the iPlayer since its 2007 launch, Director-General Tony Hall said the BBC could challenge the dominance of Netflix and Amazon by offering viewers a streaming platform with a “human touch.”

a person holding a glass of wine © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Look of iPlayer transformed

Next year the BBC will unveil a reinvented iPlayer, presenting a different “look and feel”, which will become the “gateway” for all BBC programmes, news and live sporting events.

Last month, Amazon Video signed an exclusive three-year deal with Fleabag creator Waller-Bridge, worth £16m a year, to produce new shows exclusively for the platform.

Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown, has agreed a similar deal with Netflix. Apple is set to launch its new streaming service, spending £5bn on new shows.

Gallery: The new shows to broadcast on Apple TV+ when it launches (The Wrap)

BBC can't match Netflix $$$

The BBC conceded that whilst it “cannot compete financially with the coffers of Netflix, it can promote individual talent” across its services, through box-sets and podcasts, and curate a “platform with a human touch.”

Netflix shows are commissioned using viewer data and algorithms, which can often lead to a surfeit of series on popular themes, such as drug crime-lords.

Will 'BBC1' survive digital reinvention?

© Getty

The BBC’s long-standing numbered TV channels could be renamed to stay relevant when the new iPlayer becomes the main portal for viewers.

Charlotte Moore, director of content at the BBC, said: "iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programmes - a 'total TV' experience which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time.”

Curation 'vital'

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Phoebe Waller-Bridge" Episode 1769 -- Pictured: Host Phoebe Waller-Bridge during the monologue on Saturday, October 5, 2019 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC) © Getty SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Phoebe Waller-Bridge" Episode 1769 -- Pictured: Host Phoebe Waller-Bridge during the monologue on Saturday, October 5, 2019 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

She added: "There's something else that makes our vision for iPlayer unique and special. In fact it's the vital thing. It's curated.”

Media watchdog Ofcom recently gave the BBC the green light to retain programmes on the iPlayer for up to a year.

There could be fears that some viewers may be disenfranchised if the updated iPlayer app only works on the latest operating systems.

Related news: BBC prepares for life beyond channels with iPlayer revamp (The Guardian)

Upgrade will be needed

Replacing the Radio iPlayer app with the new Sounds platform prompted a number of listener complaints.

September saw the BBC's record week on iPlayer, with more than 90 million programmes requested.

Programmes like Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve have attracted huge audiences to the platform.

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