BBC iPlayer will aim to be ‘number one’ online TV service – BBC News

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The BBC iPlayer will be reinvented in a bid to be the top online TV service in the UK by 2020, the broadcaster’s director-general Lord Hall has said.

Changes could include allowing whole series to be downloaded before they are shown on television – as global online services such as Amazon and Netflix do.

Lord Hall is announcing the plans as the BBC enters its new charter period.

In his address to staff, he will say he wants to “reinvent public broadcasting for a new generation”.

“iPlayer was the biggest revolution of the last charter,” Mr Hall will say.

“Now we need it to make the leap from a catch-up service to a must-visit destination in its own right.”

‘Rapid growth’

One suggestion of how the service might do this is by making drama series available in their entirety on iPlayer, before screening them on television, enabling viewers to “binge-watch” box sets.

The BBC have experimented with iPlayer first programmes, with shows such as Peter Kay’s Car Share made available online first.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Hall wants the BBC to remain the “gold standard” of news

Lord Hall will say the BBC must pioneer new technology if it is to remain a global leader and develop new ways of personalising services for viewers as well as how it can embrace developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and voice recognition.

“Our goal, even in the face of rapid growth by our competitors, is for iPlayer to be the number one online TV service in the UK,” Lord Hall said.

He hopes to reach this goal by 2020 and in order to do so, the BBC will need to double the amount of people it reaches through the online service.

Recent figures revealed 2016 was the biggest year yet for the iPlayer, which received 243m monthly requests on average.

Lord Hall will set out three strategic priorities – creativity, culture and global ambition.

Beyond entertainment, the BBC will put a stronger emphasis on “slow news” – meaning more in-depth analysis of topics and issues to run alongside the “fast” breaking news and day to day events.

The BBC reaches its centenary year in 2022, by which point Mr Hall says he wants a BBC that is “irresistible” to all audiences.

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Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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