BBC iPlayer Users Required to Sign Up to a Personal Account by 2017

Broadcaster’s Tony Hall said BBC is ‘reinventing public service broadcasting for the digital age’

LONDON  The BBC will require users of BBC iPlayer, its VOD service, to log-in via a personal account from the beginning of next year. The move is part of the U.K. pubcaster’s next phase of plans to reinvent its public service broadcast offering using data.

In an announcement Tuesday, the BBC said a more personalized experience, tailored to all viewers and listeners across content, products and services, would help its users find more of the programming they liked while allowed the broadcaster to be better informed and make decisions around future programming and services for everyone.

“I want everyone to get the very best from the BBC. By learning about what you want and like we can take you to more of the great programs you love, stories you might be interested in and content you might otherwise never have discovered,” said Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC.

“This is a real transformation -reinventing public service broadcasting for the digital age. Millions of people are already benefitting from this more personalised BBC, and by rolling it out for everyone no one will be left behind.”

The BBC claims that more than seven million people have registered for a BBC account since 2015 in order to benefit from more personalized experiences, promoting the latest announcements in its plans. As a first step the company will roll-out a more secure sign-in system this week.

The next step will see all users of BBC iPlayer, including BBC iPlayer Radio and some of its mobile apps, asked to sign in to use it from early 2017. This will require users to create an online BBC ID account which will include adding their postcode. It is not currently necessary to have a BBC ID to access iPlayer.

The news follows the BBC’s recent move requiring anyone using iPlayer to have a U.K. television licence, which came into effect at the beginning of September. Previously users were only required to have a television licence if they chose to access live broadcasts. However, the corporation is currently unable to police the requirement with users simply asked to tick a box stating whether or not they have a licence, which cost £145.50 ($188.60) per year.

Live viewing on iPlayer grew to 11% of all television requests in June, the highest level in two years, according to BBC figures. The VOD platform saw a total of 290 million requests across television and radio in June, up 6% on the previous month and 39 million more than seen in June 2015. Television requests accounted for 229 million, the best performance for June since the platforms’ launch. Average weekly unique browser figures were at 19.9 million for June, the highest on record.

June figures were in part boosted by the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer event. The most viewed program in June was “Match of the Day”’s live coverage of the Euro 2016 contest between England and Wales with 2.84 million requests. This was followed by the second episode of season 23 of “Top Gear,” featuring new presenters Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, with 1.43 million requests. The opening episode of “Top Gear”’s new-look season had been the most requested show in May with 1.44 million requests.

As part of its plans, the BBC has updated its privacy policy which is based on three promises of transparency, choice and trust. The BBC says it will only collect data required to provide a better experience to audiences and to improve its services and fulfil its responsibilities as a pubcaster; users will be able to manage or delete the account at any time; and the corporation will never sell personal details. However, should users delete their account they won’t be able to access BBC iPlayer from 2017.

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: 'Sesame Street' Sets

    TV News Roundup: 'Sesame Street' Sets 50th Anniversary Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Sesame Workshop announced a premiere date for “Sesame Street’s Historic 50th Anniversary Celebration” and “Brave New World” adds Sophie McIntosh. CASTING New Zealand actress Sophie McIntosh has been cast in USA Network’s “Brave New World” series, Variety has learned exclusively. She will play the recurring role of Jane, and joins a cast [...]

  • HBO Max Adds Three Execs to

    HBO Max Adds Three Execs to Drama Team

    HBO Max is continuing its spate of executive hires. The nascent WarnerMedia streamer has now tapped Roberto Alcantara, Chika Chukudebelu and Mark Tuohy to all be vice presidents in the drama department. The announcement was made by Joey Chavez, EVP of original drama at HBO Max, to whom they will all report. Chavez and his [...]


    'Stranger Things 3' Is Most-Watched Season to Date, Netflix Says

    The Upside Down delivered upside for Netflix in the third quarter: “Stranger Things” season 3 was the most-watched season of the series to date, according to the streamer. In the first four weeks of release, “Stranger Things” season 3 was watched by 64 million member households, Netflix said in the Q3 letter to shareholders. The [...]

  • HBO Max - WarnerMedia

    HBO Max Orders LGBTQ Movement Docuseries From Scout Productions, Jim Parsons, Greg Berlanti

    HBO Max has commissioned a four-part docuseries on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement. Titled “Equal,” the series will explore the true stories of leaders and activists of the movement. Each hour-long episode will feature interviews, reenactments, and never before seen footage. The series hails from Warner Horizon Unscripted Television. “We are extremely proud to [...]

  • Dead To Me

    Streaming Shows Nearly Doubled in Last Year, Boosting Los Angeles TV Production

    Television production in Los Angeles has received a major boost from streaming shows, according to a new report from the permitting organization FilmLA. The number of new digital projects nearly doubled between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 development cycles, increasing approximately 85.3% in a year. The number of digitally distributed original series in production has increased by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content