PaidContent has learned that the BBC wants to make all its programmes available on a download-to-own (DTO) basis under an initiative called Project Barcelona. It is thought that content on the store would be priced from around £1.89 per show.
The website claims that Project Barcelona has been negotiating with the independent producers that make some of the corporation's programmes, and has already received support on what is viewed as a potentially strong way to combat piracy.
However, independent production trade body Pact is thought to be concerned about the scheme, particularly over the share of revenue for indies and potential impact on already-declining DVD sales.
In a statement to PaidContent, a BBC spokesperson said: "In addition to BBC iPlayer, the BBC already makes some of its content available on a download-to-own (DTO) basis.
"Any proposal to extend this facility would require not just the support of the industry but formal approval by the BBC Executive and the BBC Trust."
The as-yet-unannounced Project Barcelona could mark a radical shift in the way BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, monetises the corporation's huge archive of content in the digital world.
All households in the UK already pay an £145.50 annual licence fee to fund the corporation, enabling them to watch BBC shows on television and on the catch-up TV service BBC iPlayer for a 30-day period.
After that, the rights are handed to Worldwide, which sells the programmes on DVD, and licenses the content to digital distribution services, such as iTunes, Blinkbox, Netflix and LoveFilm.
However, the corporation is thought to be concerned that only around 7% of its archive programming is offered for sale, suggesting that third parties are 'cherry picking' the most commercial content and leaving the rest.
Project Barcelona is thought to be about the BBC making all of its content available for paid download in an own-branded service, including all-new material, shortly after the 30-day transmission window.
The download platform would enable the BBC to more broadly promote its older content, as well as provide the producers with a bigger cut than they currently get on iTunes.
The corporation will handle all administration costs of the platform, and it could generate at least £13m in revenue for indie producers over the next five years.
Information uncovered by PaidContent says that the project is "about making what is effectively seen as non-commercial programming available to the market at a price and ease of use that will encourage consumers to purchase programmes that the commercial market would not make available due to the poor returns and risk involved".
If it can overcome the disagreements with the production companies, the new download platform could provide the BBC with a strong new revenue stream in the digital world, particularly as it faces major spending cuts.
However, the approach would still have to get full approval from the BBC Trust, which may be concerned about the corporation entering a major commercial venture that could muscle out other download services.
BBC Worldwide already offers a paid-for version of BBC iPlayer, but that is only available to consumers outside of the UK.
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