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BBC Store will do for downloads what iPlayer did for catch-up, says chief

The BBC Store will launch in the second quarter of 2015, offering you the chance to browse, purchase and download content from the BBC iPlayer.

BBC Worldwide’s Marcus Arthur said the store would also allow punters to build up an online ‘locker’ of favourite shows mixing both free content and their purchases.

The iPlayer currently hosts shows that aired across the BBC’s network up to 30 days after they were last shown, but the new store would allow customers to find older shows and pay to download them.

This could be a thing of the past when the BBC launches its iPlayer internationally
This could be a thing of the past when the BBC launches its iPlayer internationally

Arthur told the PEVE Entertainment Business Futures conference in London: “Only 6 per cent of BBC product has ever been available to buy.

“We hope this will do for downloading what iPlayer has done for catch-up. Crucially for us it is as much about the archive as it is about current content.”

However, the BBC’s big concern is that licence fee payers may not be open to paying for content that was previously available for free, despite DVD sales accounting for a chunk of the Beeb’s revenues.

“Access and convenience for the consumer is crucial. Make it convenient for the punter to get their DVD archive onto the TV and they will adopt,” Arthur said.

As the UK’s public broadcaster, the BBC cannot show bias towards its own services, so the BBC Store will also tell customers they can buy content from rival services such as Amazon or iTunes.

Arthur said the Beeb will extend its international iPlayer service’s reach in the coming months, allowing those outside of the UK to watch programmes for a small fee.

“We will be able to roll out what we have in the UK internationally under other business models,” Arthur explained.

Despite the long-term plan to integrate the BBC Store with iPlayer, it will launch on its own in Spring 2015 and the two services will be combined later on.