BBC iPlayer to get ‘total TV’ revamp to help compete with Netflix

The revamped BBC service will feature more personalisation and box sets

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  In this photo illustration, the BBC iPlayer app is displayed on an iPhone on August 2, 2016 in London, England. The BBC has announced that iPlayer users will have to pay a 145GBP TV licence fee from 1 September.  (Photo Illustration by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The BBC is set to undergo the biggest revamp of its iPlayer service yet in order to take on rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.


BBC director-general Lord Tony Hall will today announce the service will relaunch next year to transform its look, feel and functionality. The service will also host shows for a full year after broadcast, rather than the current 30-day limit.

The new iPlayer – which will keep the same name – promises to feature further personalisation and more live programming and box sets, changes that Lord Hall is expected to say will open  “a new front door for British creativity”.

BBC programming chief Charlotte Moore will add that the revamped service will be a “cutting-edge tech platform run by humans – because in a world of so much content and choice, a dynamic curated offering will become more and more important to people and will set the BBC apart.

She said: “iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programmes – a ‘total TV’ experience, which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time.”

The announcement can be seen as an answer to new deals signed by US subscription services. While Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge recently confirmed a contract reportedly worth £50 million with Amazon, Netflix won a bidding war for Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss.

BBC iPlayer will also soon be competing against on-demand services such as Disney+ and Apple TV.

News of the BBC iPlayer revamp comes several months after the BBC pledged to partner with ITV on £5.99-a-month streaming service Britbox. The platform is set to feature shows from Gavin & Stacey, to Victoria, Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Les Miserables, The Office and Benidorm.