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BBC Project Barcelona to offer permanent downloads from BBC archive
Friday 16 March 2012 11:03:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The BBC is set to create a digital shop for content from its archives, including material that has previously being impossible to obtain on DVD or Blu-ray. The Project Barcelona which was announced by BBC director general Mark Thompson this week is to allow people to download a permanent digital copy for a fee, with figues of around £2 per episode being talked about.

The use of the word permanent is interesting in the various write-ups on the web, though there is no confirmation whether this simply means a DRM enabled copy that will not expire, which will limit the devices you can play back the download on, due to the need for each platform to support the DRM system.

This new project is not a move towards making people pay for BBC content, but is a modernisation of the existing DVD sales channel, which generates revenue for the BBC through UK and overseas sales.

If the content is made available DRM free and at a decent level of quality, i.e. the same or better than BBC iPlayer HD then the service may prove popular. A price of £2 per episode could prove expensive for the equivalent of a box-set, so hopefully deals will be available when someone buys a complete series.

Comments

Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
I'd be in favour of this if every £2 I paid was subtracted from the TV license fee and capped at the cost of the TV license annually. Otherwise it seems like double billing pure and simple.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
So you believe that the same should happen with the purchase of DVD boxsets?
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
I'm more in favour of making the BBC a not for profit so they only have to sell limited advertising (or loads of product placement) and do things like selling DRM free content after the 7 day iPlayer period. Else they could have it on forever but show ads at the start and in the middle. We'd only be looking at 1 or 2 adverts anyway as they would only have to pay costs, not make a profit.
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
With DVD box sets there's a good argument that I should pay extra - there's a cost from the retail channels, from the manufacture etc. For a streaming archive the costs are marginal - CDN, encoding back catalogue etc. are a tiny fraction of the DVD cost. The BBC seems to want to have their cake and eat it. Scrap the TV license and I'll pay for streaming.
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
Charge a small supplemental fee for streaming that reflects the costs maybe, but £2 per episode for something I already subsidised is daylight robbery. How on earth can charging more than the cost of a DVD for something with less overheads be fair for anyone?
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
(I'm also somewhat in favour of those without TV licenses paying for iPlayer or other BBC streaming services)
Posted by m0aur over 5 years ago
The BBC has become a biased joke. That, along with losing Cricket, football, F1, The Grand National and the Derby coverage, they are barely fit for purpose. They screw users enough already via the license fee.
Posted by csimon over 5 years ago
I think this is great.It's revenue-generating,yes,in the same way as DVDs/Blurays are & yes,it takes a cost to set this up.No you don't get physical media,hence how cheap it is in comparison with DVD.It opens up things that not available on physical media.But I hope it will be done by downloads not streaming as some of us still have dreadful broadband which BT are not willing to fix!
Posted by csimon over 5 years ago
Some people don't appreciate the value of BBC & expect every new service & innovation to be completely covered by the (extremely cheap) licence fee-it just don't work like that.This is making the archives available for the cheapest price you've ever seen so far.Scrap streaming, I'll pay for a TV licence.
Posted by csimon over 5 years ago
Would you rather the BBC have paid two or three times as much as Sky etc for those things that they have "lost" - would that have been good value? Where would they have got the money from?
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
@csimon - this isn't cheap compared to the DVD, it's close to doubling the price. For example Spooks series 8 is available brand new on DVD for £9.19 - £1.15 per episode including P&P. Streaming costs less to deliver by all accounts.
Posted by awoodland over 5 years ago
If the BBC want me to subsidise content I don't care about with a license fee fine. If they want to charge for content I care about fine. Either of those models seems quite reasonable, but why both simultaneously?
Posted by EnglishRob over 5 years ago
I'd be interested for some BBC content which doesn't seem to be available such as the old computer related shows MicroLive and Making The Most of the Micro... but for general stuff I'll stick to the iPlayer, recording it on my Tivo or MythTV box or maybe buying the odd DVD or Bluray boxset.
Posted by worcspaul over 5 years ago
" £2 per episode for something I already subsidised is daylight robbery" While I can see your point regarding content produced since you started paying licence fees, what about historical material produced beforehand? I have no objection to paying a reasonable fee to download an episode, and if I'm able to acquire a series for less that the cost of a DVD set, I'm certainly not going to quibble! :)

I happen to think that, compared to subscription TV the licence fee is well worth the money - especially when you see the dross produced by subscription channels!
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
good idea but poor price tag. It works out more expensive than dvd box sets. I would like to see a monthly subscription service where can watch streams of all the old archived shows.
Posted by TGVrecord over 5 years ago
When a DVD box set is first sold it is normally sold at the highest price point. If you are prepared to wait a few months (like me) you can often pick up a box set at less than half price. Sometimes you can even pick up a box set for as little as £5 second hand.

No way would I pay £2 per episode for an on-line version!
Posted by fibrebunny over 5 years ago
Could be interesting for those who have pushed for a DVD release of their favourite shows of old. As not all have been deemed commercially viable for release. A license to view broadcasts doesn't equate to part ownership of all content and opening the archive will indeed have costs. So I have no issues with charging for such a service.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 5 years ago
I don't have a TV licence. Don't want one and luckily don't need one for what I use the net for. TV licensing people have been round and left happily.
Posted by bernara over 5 years ago
I really object to having to pay again for something I've already funded through the licence. A physical DVD / Box set incurs manufacturing and fulfilment costs; iplayer is there already. If the BBC feels it can't afford it, then proper efficiency measures should be implemented to get rid of the bloat.
Posted by sandy7m over 5 years ago
Totally agree with what is being said regarding the price. what baffles me is why this premium service was not linked in some way to the TV licence. it would not be difficult to track subscribers and so see who has a licence. Those with a licence could have a capped limit per montha and then beyond that they pay a token sum. The rest can cough up the 2 pounds. It irks me that some think they should not pay for the privelage of having the top class programming that the BBC gives us while the rest of us play fair.
Posted by Markak over 5 years ago
Well of course as the Propaganda Broadcasting CORPORATION Carries on raping everyone due to the TV licensing AND brain washes you in the mean time.

What a scheme.
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