Earlier this year, we reported that mainstream BBC programming was to be shown exclusively on iPlayer for the first time, following a handful of other online-only endeavors in 2012. And today, the BBC has announced it has commissioned a strand of new BBC Three dramas exclusively for its online streaming service.
This represents a venture between BBC iPlayer, BBC Three and BBC Drama Production, and it will see the broadcaster commission six original short films over two years.
During 2012, the BBC did trial a number of online-only programmes via iPlayer, such as BBC Three’s ‘Feed My Funny’ and a Doctor Who mini-series called ‘Pond Life’. And it seems these proved popular, with ‘Pond Life’ notching up more than 5 million iPlayer requests alone.
“This ambitious new strand builds on BBC iPlayer as a creative platform to bring original British drama to audiences online, and explores storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration,” says Victoria Jaye, BBC Head of IPTV & TV Online Content. “Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they choose.”
Although BBC iPlayer already lets UK viewers watch live TV as it’s being broadcast, it is typically used as a catch-up, video-on-demand (VoD) service. But there is a growing shift in the VoD space towards exclusive or original content, as we’re seeing with the likes of Netflix which recently aired its second original series, House of Cards.
The BBC has previously intimated that it sees iPlayer as playing a key part of its future strategy, as it looks to embed the service firmly in the livingroom…not just on your laptop or tablet. Indeed, the BBC is looking to take iPlayer beyond the tech-savvy, beyond catch-up and beyond the PC. And original content such as this will go some way towards achieving that.