Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy

Media News

BBC iPlayer aggregates partner VOD sites

By
BBC iPlayer

© BBC

The BBC has today launched a new service on BBC iPlayer providing links to other on-demand platforms such as ITV Player and SeeSaw, as part of its commitment to share web traffic with the industry.

After being first unveiled last May, the new Partner Linking facility has now gone live on iPlayer, featuring links to the on-demand services offered by six other broadcaster/operators - ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, SeeSaw, S4C and MSN Video Player.

The metadata sharing service essentially turns iPlayer into a catch-up TV aggregator, offering a place to access programming from other content providers. For example, anyone who missed Coronation Street will be able to link through directly from iPlayer to ITV Player to watch the soap opera.

In a blog posting, iPlayer executive producer Paul Clark said that a search function will enable users to locate non-BBC content from within iPlayer, and then link to the third-party playback site. He explained that the iPlayer team will take feeds periodically from the partner websites, including all programme information and scheduling.

"It's been a while in the making, but this has been an extremely ambitious and technically complicated project, and we wanted to get to a user-experience that feels intuitive and not 'bolted on', even though the experience is as much reliant on the data feeds from our partners as our own engineering," said Clark.

"We've worked hard with our partners to make sure that we're getting the right data and images for programmes when available, however you may find from time to time there's no images. This is down to technical limitations and we're working with all partners to rectify this as soon as we can."

Clark said that the BBC is "really pleased" with the six partners to accompany the launch, but confirmed that other partners will come on board in the future. He said that any Ofcom-regulated provider of on-demand content can apply to join the Partner Linking programme on iPlayer.

"We hope to see more partners' programmes appear in BBC iPlayer over time. More broadly, we think BBC Online should serve as a hub to support other UK sites and want to double the traffic we send externally," said Clark.

"Already the BBC News product is one of the top five sites driving referrals to UK newspapers, adding value to the UK online economy and our audiences: this partnership is a good example of how the BBC iPlayer can follow in those footsteps."

He added: "Given the popularity of BBC iPlayer, we hope this feature will support fellow broadcasters and boost the overall uptake of video on demand. Most importantly, by helping audiences uncover great digital services that exist elsewhere on the web, we're performing an important public service."

However, Sky criticised the Partner Links facility when it was announced last May, claiming that the service effectively makes iPlayer an online aggregator without a market impact review.

You May Like