BBC Chairman Richard Sharp has suggested that Netflix's platform is currently "better" than the broadcaster's own iPlayer.


Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival 2022, Sharp pointed to the gap between what Netflix and the BBC spend on developing their tech product, arguing that this accounts for the difference in user experience.

"We have one-tenth of the budget in technology virtually [compared] with Netflix... and I'd say their product is 5 to 10 per cent better," he said.

"It's smoother when you use it and all the rest of it, but the fact is it's extraordinary how much they spend versus how little we spend."

BBC iPlayer showing what's available to watch
BBC iPlayer BBC

Despite this, Sharp said that he still considers BBC iPlayer to be "world-class" and "highly competitive" when compared to streaming rivals like Netflix and Prime Video.

He also revealed that the BBC is actively investigating the possibility of making a version of iPlayer accessible outside of the UK, allowing a global audience to view the broadcaster's programming.

"If you look at the growth of the AVOD [advertising-based video on demand] market in the US, there's no doubt that we can super-serve a community that wants British content," Sharp said. "How we go about that, we need to figure out.

"I've been quite surprised at the success of BritBox International, in terms of being a profitable business. When you look at a global, digital consumer market, you realise that a large niche can be highly profitable and we're very good at a lot of things. So part of the strategic review [at the BBC] will be to figure out how we can capture a market demand for the content that we produce, globally."

In the same Q&A session, hosted by actor and broadcaster David Harewood, Sharp confirmed that the BBC is also "reviewing all alternatives" to the licence fee.

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