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BBC iPlayer 30 day catch-up window coming this summer

The BBC will extend the iPlayer catch-up window to 30 days this summer. 

Currently, the majority of BBC content can be streamed online seven days after the initial broadcast. 

This is now set to increase following approval from the BBC Trust, the board of officials which regulates the BBC. 

BBC iPlayer 30 day catch-up window coming this summer
30 days of catch-up: This summer, the BBC will roll out a wider catch-up window

Plans to expand the week-long catch-up window were announced last year, but it has only recently been approved by the Trust. 

Vice chairman of the BBC Trust Diane Coyle said: “People keep telling us they want programmes to be available on BBC iPlayer for longer – so extending availability from seven to 30 days will make iPlayer even better. 

“New iPlayer already has downloads, better recommendations, HD, live restart, favourites and collections, and extending the catch-up window to 30 days gives people even longer to enjoy their favourite BBC programmes. We will now set about making this happen with the aim to roll this out from the summer.” 

An upshot of the catch-up window being increased means that the BBC will be getting rid of series stacking. 

Series stacking was introduced in 2008 and allowed viewers to catch up on the first episode of a series until seven days after the last episode has been viewed. This meant that shows with longer arcs, like Merlin and (rather fittingly) Doctor Who, could transcend the regular 7-day catch-up frame. 

BBC iPlayer: Hello 30 days’ catch-up, goodbye series stacking

The BBC Trust has decided that increasing the catch-up window to 30 days means that people will be less reliant on series stacking for longer running shows and that not that many viewers made use of stacked shows in the first place. 

The Trusts report says: “We believe that any consequent impact on audiences will be limited. Firstly, series stacking applies to 15 per cent of on-demand content and as a result, contributes a relatively small (2 per cent) share of total iPlayer viewing after day seven. 

“Secondly, when the removal of series stacking is combined with the extension of the catch-up window, the cumulative effect reduces the impact further; after day 30, the contribution of series stacked titles to overall iPlayer viewing is very small.” 

In addition to this, BBC research conducted in July 2013 revealed that 40 per cent of respondents were not aware of series stacking. The 29 per cent who did know about series stacking had not made use of it. 

When the BBC first announced plans for 30 day catch-up on iPlayer, it also revealed intentions to bring radio playlists and 4K Ultra HD streams to the service. 

The BBC recently updated iPlayer for desktops, phones and tablets, making it easier for viewers to search for programmes. Many of these features are currently rolling out to smart TV platforms, with HTML5-based servies to get them ahead of systems like YouView and Virgin Media TiVo which run Flash-based apps. 

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