BBC has unveiled a brave new vision for iPlayer – one that’s based on personal recommendations.
MyBBC will let users sign up for an account, which will let you leave bookmarks on content, so you can start watching Wolf Hall, Top Gear or EastEnders on your lunch break and carry on where you left off on at home.
You’ll also be able to get local news and regional weather reports, based on your location and interests – or whatever you want from the BBC.
Director of Homepage and myBBC Phil Fearnley said: “We will make the BBC online feel personal and relevant to you, by linking up our content and launching new features and functionality to help serve each and every one of you better.
“You’ll be able to create a BBC experience that you control, recognises you as an individual, and brings you the best of our content based on what we know you’ll love.”
This announcement follows last year’s shift to a responsive design for iPlayer and the more recent demo of iPlayer Shuffle, which is designed to build a personalised stream a la Last.fm in a manner that didn’t require much information about the viewer.
In a similar fashion Fearnley is keen to allay fears of data security breaches: “We will not do anything with your data that isn’t clearly explained, or that you don’t agree to. We will never sell your data, let other organisations track what you do with the BBC for their own purposes, or spam you. And we’ll guard and protect your data.
“The BBC is set up to serve the public, and to help everyone in the UK get the best out of digital technologies and the BBC. We have no reason to collect your data other than to serve you better.”
MyBBC is due to go live later this year. Recently, a committee of MPs called for the TV licence, which funds much of the BBC’s activities, to be expanded to cover access to iPlayer.
Under the current terms, you can legally opt out of paying for a TV licence and continue to access iPlayer, provided that you only watch catch-up content. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee, headed by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, also called for the licence in its current form to be scrapped and replaced with a mandatory tax.
This, the committee argued, could see non-payers locked out of accessing services they’re not paying for. It’s not currently known if in the future, everyone would need to have a myBBC account and proof of payment before accessing BBC services online.
The licence fee arrangement is in place until the end of March 2017. A separate consultation could see non-payment decriminalised in the long run if a move to a broadcast levy model doesn’t happen.