Wednesday, February 20, 2008

BBC Makes us Pay Twice

So the BBC intends to charge us twice for watching their programmes and again through iTunes. Currently their programmes are available for 7days on the iPlayer (which is superb). I thought the reason they couldn't be available after that was one of licensing. Apparently not, if they are going to be on iTunes. I'd have no objection to them being on iTunes if they were also permanently available on the iPlayer too. Perhaps someone from the BBC could get in touch to explain why licence fee payers are now expected to pay £1.89 to watch a programme they have already paid for through the licence fee - and twice the amount American subscribers of iTunes are being charged.

UPDATE: Some people in the comments are drawing an analogy to DVD sales. I understand the point but I think it is misplaced. I have no objection to these programmes being on iTunes so if people want to download them they can. In those terms it is similar to buying a DVD in that you have bought a product. What I object to is being told that the programmes can only be on iPlayer for 7 days for licensing reasons. That is quite clearly not the case. Streaming a programme is very different from downloading one. I do not understand why a programme cannot be streamed more than sevemn days after its transmission. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the way it works is that you will still be able to watch it on iplayer for free, but if you want to have a permanent copy, you can get it from itunes... it's just the same as buying the series of something on dvd, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Should they give their DVDs away as well? It's just that last time I looked in HMV Dad's Army was still £8.99

Gordon's Gofer said...

Same reason you have to pay for a DVD.
Christ you can be dim sometimes in your anti-BBC bias sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Practical matter that the writers, performers and producers all have entitlement to additional fees for use of the programme after the initial showing. I don't see why the taxpayer should cover that cost any more than they do when distributed through other media.

However charging UK customers twice the rate for US customers is an outrageous abuse of market position and should go the the OFT for review.

Chris D said...

The BBC gets to use the programmes for 7 days, for free. After that, they have to pay the production company (assuming they haven't produced it themselves) a big fee.

As one of the Anonymice say, it's the same as a DVD, which is often released seven days after the series ends.

I think the cost will have been partly determined by Apple, rather than the BBC.

Perhaps the Licence Fee should be more explicit about offering free programmes for seven days after they're first 'published'.

And remember the profits go back into programme-making.

Anonymous said...

Streaming is not the same as downloading.

Downloading gives you a permanent copy (ignoring any DRM issues which may time limit it).

Streaming is equivalent to being able to watch the TV broadcast again for 7 days.

Downloading is equivalent to buying the DVD.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

The big issue is the BBC/UK Gold deal.

The UK Gold group of channels seems to own the rights to the BBC back-catalogue.

You payed for these programs. To watch again you have to subscribe to the UK Gold channels AND sit through the tedious ads for loose credit.

Meanwhile over on BBC 3 and 4, the BBC can't afford to pay for new programs.

The BBC never releases just how little they get from this deal but you just know they and their poll tax payers were royally legged.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

As for "the production company" owning the rights?

WTF?

The BBC paid for the programe, why hasn't their legal department ensured they own the rights?

Its like saying Costain still owns the British Library because they built it.

Johnny Norfolk said...

This is just what you would expect from the leftie self serving BBC. The organisation is well past its sell by date. It belongs to a different era.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I think if you are desperate enough to want to watch TV on a 2"x2" screen, then you should pay.

These days, I do not have a TV. A lot of people have decided that the BBC is a liberal left propaganda organisation (including me) and no longer want to support it. Other channels are not much better.

As a commercial decision it makes sense to charge for premium services, when inevitably, licence revenues are reduced.In the end it is about exercising choice.

Iain, you should follow the advice of Noel Coward, when asked about TV:

"Television is for appearing on, not watching".

The way we consume electronic media is undergoing the biggest change in its history. Large corporations, used to monopolies and huge wads of consumer's cash are failing to fix the market because it is too diverse and changes constantly. for example, the days when Sony BMG could charge £14 for a cd are gone.

Corporate greed has unravelled recently with the demise of Toshiba's HD-DVD format. Toshiba, and its rival Sony, have invested billions in formats, starting this war in 2002. They could have pooled rescources and come up with a jointly agreed format, but they chose to fight it out. Sony of course have learned their lesson from the Betamax mess and won with Blu-Ray.

The issue of paying twice, or more times for entertainment is hardly new, because you pay to watch a movie when it comes out, at the cinema, and you pay again when the DVD comees out, and you pay again when it gets shown on TV.

If you don't want to pay you can download almost anything for free. The internet has created rat runs that the former media monopolies just cannot plug. The only way forward is to provide all media free at source, and use advertising to create revenue.

AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

It's quite easy to capture streaming video. Here's just one product: http://www.wmrecorder.com/.

Anonymous said...

Patently this is the year where Tory bloggers highlight their utter lack of knowledge of fundamentals of Media such as Bandwidth leeching, copyright material. It also highlights the fact that Tories have a complete misunderstanding of how people live; not everyone lives on an inheritence from their nearest inbreed.

Paying your license fee does not give you the right to steal imagery, programmes or any other media. Do not confuse iPlayer with Rights.

You think that when a programme is reshown outside of the 1-week repeat window (which iplayer takes advantage of) that the people who made the programme have no right to their repeat fees? do you suppose you, as the only license fee payer demanding an explanation for your schoolboy understanding of the world, should recieve these monies? Jesus.

Typhoo said...

This is a rip off, do they get any money from virgin media for them to show the BBC programmes again for seven days?? Can't Branson afford it. It's almost all bbc content for catch up tv on virgin plus-so who own the rights and does any money change hands. If not then why can't the BBC at least charge British people the same rate as the Americans, why do they get it cheaper???

The Tory Troll said...

So let me get this straight.

You don't think there should be a license fee , but you don't think the BBC should seek revenue elsewhere.

That is classic Nu-Con thinking.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't this just emphasise the absurdity of the BBC being funded by a poll tax? There's no justification for the state running a broadcasting company and it should be privatised - then they would be free to do whatever they want and we taxpayers could decide ourselves what we want to pay for, rather than having it imposed on us at huge cost.

canvas said...

Why isn't the BBC a 'by subscription' service anyway? It's such a rip off.

The TV licence fee should go. It makes no sense in 2008.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Anonymous said
"You think that ... the people who made the programme have no right to their repeat fees? do you suppose you, as the only license fee payer demanding an explanation for your schoolboy understanding of the world, should recieve these monies? Jesus."


You don't seem to be able to distinguish between the people who made the programme and the people who paid for it.

-I'm just arranging now for the people who built your house to live in it.

I'm sure that's when your idea of socialism (whats yours is mine whats mine is my own business)comes to an end.

Insulting people because you don't understand the free market and property rights does rather undermine your case.

It makes me think that you must work for the BBC - use your 15 minutes hat and coat time that you get each day, paid for by some of the poorest people in the country to reflect on just how lucky you are.

McSweeney said...

It isn't on iplayer indefinitely because they wouldn't make any money from selling DVDs or downloads if it was. Simple.

How and why is this a big deal?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Anon 11:55

"Tories have a complete misunderstanding of how people live; not everyone lives on an inheritence from their nearest inbreed."

I say, the standard of hate-filled, ignorant, anonymous contributions continues to sink to new levels of putrescence.

I am glad you let this one through Iain. It is priceless.

Since Iain rarely replies to this kind of clap trap; if you had been around long enough you would know that Iain has a wide understanding of "how people live" including those in the poorest and most opressed parts of the world. He is also much more aware of the "fundamentals" of how media works, having become somthing of a success at it, in many varied formats.

You, Mr Anonymous, are a bollockhead and a de facto nobody.

And the second word is.. "off"

Anonymous said...

The BBC buys the rights to transmit the programme for 7 days. After which the rights goes back to the original production company. Therefore if you want to watch it after 7 days either get it off itunes, or - as an idea - buy a DVD recorder record it when it is on and watch it as often as you wish.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't loose too much sleep over this. If there is a programe of merit from the BBC, admitedly a rarity, it will be available on the p2p netwroks within a few hours...

Anonymous said...

I am not surely sure that this is a case of 'paying twice'. Didn't Paxo make the point that one can watch the programmes on iPlayer without having a TV licence.

I don't have a telly and therefore don't have a TV licence. But I still watch Paxo 'online'. Obviously if I bought a telly I would have a telly licence. But I think the fact that they have a facility to watch the programmes for 7 days afterwards is one that they had to argue hard was part of their 'public service' remit.

So I am not convinced that charging for watching the programmes outside that facility is such a bad idea. After all, aren't you the ones who are often pushing the BBC to explore alternatives to full funding from the licence fee ?

And anyway, how much telly can one person watch ? If you haven't seen the programme after a week, it will end up like all those programmes one taped onto VHS, and never quite got round to watching.

The danger of your approach, Daley, is that you would develop your own 'iPlayer' channel where you spent all your time watching the Daily Politics, Top Gear and the 'Thick of It' on a 24 hour repeat cycle..

Anonymous said...

"The BBC paid for the programe, why hasn't their legal department ensured they own the rights?"

Basically, more extensive rights = more expensive. Given that the BBC is primarily still a broadcast organisation, they probably figured it was an unnecessary extra.

Anonymous said...

I'm not quite sure what Iain means by "licencing reasons".

If he means "the 7 day window is there to protect rights holders who want to sell programmes outside of the 7 days" then the iTunes deal is exactly in line with this.

The 7 day window for watching BBC programmes on the iPlayer was agreed by the BBC Trust in its approval of the BBC's on demand services.

It's not just about rights as well - its also about market impact.

Commentators here are correct. The Licence Fee does not give you the right to own all BBC content forever.

People are not paying twice for the same thing. They are paying once to watch and once to own (if they want to).The iTunes deal is no different from selling a DVD.

Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog)

Little Black Sambo said...

"These monies".
If you see this phrase don't bother reading the rest of the argument. Unfortunately it came almost at the end.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if the BBC could get the writers/producers/actors to sign a contract saying that they agree to indefinite repeated transmissions without repeat fees, the beeb could and would stream a programme for more than 7 days. But hey, it's a free market out there and I guess most luvvies want to earn a living like the rest of us. iTunes is just a big music/DVD store so it's an outlet for sales to complement the existing market in physical DVD sales (which will become a thing of the past in the next few years anyway).

Anonymous said...

Iain, I agree. Also I think that DVDs should be free as well. Why limit it to the BBC, after all I have been buying washing power (Bold 3-in-1), from Tescos, driven in a Ford for years. I must spend more, by the products I buy to fund commercial TV each year than I pay to watch the BBC.
Also why should I have to pay to go to the cinema to watch a British film. I have paid to fund part of this via my taxes.
Also can I have your new magazine for free? After all I paid for your education via my taxes for years.

Iain the reason is simple: Copyright. BBC buys the rights for a week. If you want the rights to watch it for free for longer; be prepared to pay more through your licence fee; or for those who want to watch it again they can pay for it themselves.

As for the comments about why it costs more to watch from this country than from the USA. Simple: Apple ripes UK residents off. If you dont like it; next time your in America get a credit card from a US bank. Then apple charge you half the cost....

Garry said...

"I thought the reason they couldn't be available after that was one of licensing. Apparently not, if they are going to be on iTunes."

What's that now? And your update too. Cripes!

If the BBC want to make programmes available online for longer than seven days, they have to pay more money to the copyright holders.

(This isn't unique to the BBC. Broadcasters generally buy the right to show stuff for a given period only. Sky doesn't buy the copyright to the films it broadcasts, for example. Obviously, different condition apply for in-house productions.)

To cover these extra costs, the BBC could add it to the license fee.

Or it could, I don't know, maybe introduce a small charge for these downloads. Just for those who choose to pay it, you understand. And you, a Tory, think this second option is a bad thing.

I'd love to know how you reached that conclusion.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Iain
There is a post at 2.17pm from someone who says he is

Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog)

1. Is he being paid by us poll tax payers to patrol other blogs and defend the BBC?

2. Why don't you just delete his post.
-That is what the BBC comments team do to my posts (and I follow their editorial guidelines carefully when posting). Either that or they call for comments, edit the first 50 (insider/pro-BBC/left wing comments) and then just don't bother editing any more. - They're clearly too busy reading other "free" blogs.

TV Licence said...

They may charge you twice Iain but some of us can't stand the mighty BBC and the way they expect everyone to pay for them so we don't. I myself haven't paid for them in 19yrs and I'm proud to say that. As someone who has served my country I expect to be able to watch what I like without being forced to subsidise the liberal/lefts BBC

www.tvlicenceresistance.info

TV Licence said...

"The UK Gold group of channels seems to own the rights to the BBC back-catalogue."

Who do you think owns the commercial UKTV channels ;)

Now ask yourself why the BBC sells programs on the cheap to BBC America instead of getting value for money for those forced to pay the BBC TV Licence. Ask yourself do they make what people want or what BBC Worldwide wants to put out cheap thanks to the UK TV Licence payer

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Well they want you to pay extra if you, even as a BBC tax payer, want to watch content outside the US.

TV Licence said...

Andrew Ian Dodge, they do that now with the UKTV channels (subscription) which is why they don't like people to know. I once told someone this on the points of view website and the BBC banned me outright with no explanation.

Tell you what though the thing that really annoys me if the people who like the mighty BBC who get upset at the thought of people not wanting to contribute towards them

Call Me Dave said...

I wish you BBC haters would think about the endpoint of your can't-get-it-up anger... If you destroy the BBC, the airwaves will be full of the abject mediocrity offered by ITV, C5, Sky etc. Core-dumb moron-fodder.

You're not advocating the lowering of the bar. But the kicking of it onto the ground.

Stop being so chippy and common.

ps. I think they are wrong to charge in iTunes.

Alex said...

I haven't paid once because I don't have a telly, but that didn't stop TV Licensing sending me a letter to day saying that if I wanted them to stop pestering me for a few months, I had to call their 1.4p/min phone line.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, I think the BBC can only keep things for 7 days on the I-player service because peopl ein your party called it anti competitive that the BBC could have a free service like i-player up against services you have to pay for from other channels.

New In Town TV said...

Iain,

It's quite simple.

The people who create TV content would very much like to continue to be paid when it is shown as it is part of the licensing agreement, the same as recording artists would like a share of the money every time a song is played.

To put it another way, it's very similar to hearing a song on the radio and expecting to be able to own it and play it for free forever (if the radio station was owned by the record label).

The strikes in the US by writers was about a similar issue, wanting fair pay for their work and the new licensing agreements.

Also, the content on itunes is available internationally, so that people who do not have access to the beeb, or to iplayer can pay for content they enjoy.

What's the problem

dozzy said...

Let me get this right. iPlayer is something on the BBC website and nothing whatsoever to do with an iPod -- they just sound similar. iTunes is also on the internet, but it is TV programmes not songs (or maybe it is both), and you can download it and put it on your iPod. And an iPod isn't just something you put in your pocket and listen to on headphones like a walkman, but actually has pictures on, so people no longer have them in their pockets when they use them. Is that right?

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

New in Town

Except many session musicians perform for a once off fee.

The BBC started making programmes in this way.

At some stage contracts were hi-jacked by the luvvies who run/work for the BBC at the expense of the poll tax payers.

The programmes just would not be made without the licence fee. Now things are being run for the insiders so they can have things both ways: security of the performance fee together with the upside if the prog is a success. It what happens when monopolies exist.

David Gregory (BBC) said...

Iain: First thing to say is all this is very new so perhaps things will change as we go on. But for now this is where we are. Here's what the Licence Fee provides for you.
9 TV stations. 10 National radio stations. Local radio. Our website. To maximise programme making funds there's also BBC Worldwide whose job is to exploit our archive.
So you can watch The Office. Watch the repeat. But Worldwide make sure if you want you can also buy the box set.
Thanks to the web you no longer need to miss a programme as the BBC has iPlayer as a bonus service to let you catch-up. But if programmes stayed on there for free forever that would impact on the market and The Trust say we shouldn't do that.
Plus of course it would impact on the business plans of Worldwide.
So you get a week catch-up on iPlayer and then beyond that various other options become available at various costs.
Of course it's all very new, so (for example) The Archers podcast is free and you can keep it forever. Not so with Torchwood. But then TV rights and costs are very different.
There is a healthy debate in the Corporation about all this. Could you make a series like Coast available for free to everyone for example? Well, perhaps. But you'd need to chop some archive pics, the music, some guests etc. It is complex.
If you really want to keep something, make sure you record it on tape or dvd.
As for the price being charged on iTunes. That's set by Apple. I believe they argue that VAT does inflate the price we pay over here. But that doesn't appear to explain all the difference in costs.
Oh, and have you asked what happens to your Sky+ recordings?
David Gregory (BBC)

Anonymous said...

Oh for goodness sake. The BBC just can't win can it?

Were the BBC to demand that independent producers, artists, wriers etc. signed over the rights to their work in perpertuity to the corporation they would be accused (rightly) of being anti-competative. The rights window exists because PACT argued strongly to get it. It was created at the request of the commercial independent sector not the BBC.

Were the BBC to treat in-house productions differently from external ones there would be screams about an "uneven playing field" since commisioners would naturally favour the rights-free in -house programme makers.

And just a few factual corrections. While the UKTV channels and BBC America are partly owned by the BBC's commercial arm they DO NOT have first call on programmes funded solely by the licence payer.
Sci-FI out-bid BBC America for Doctor Who and ITV3, ITV4 and Living have all out-bid UKTV for BBC programmes.
Ther are cases where the BBC Worldwide owned channels have first rights to BBC programmes but those are always programmes where they invested co-production funding.

Chris Paul said...

God Iain your economics and business sense are chronic today. We have paid for something to be made or bought. But not for it to be stored ad infinitum, placed in a searchable archive, served to customers, marketed, for any extra fees to talent etc and so on.

The choice available to tight wads is to get everything you'd ever want to watch or re-watch stored on your own HD, DVD or VHS even. At a cost of £2-3 a pop. Ooops.

TV Licence said...

"Blogger Call Me Dave said...

I wish you BBC haters would think about the endpoint"

Look if your mighty BBC is so great then it will do just fine under subscription and then the MAJORITY can be FREE from your buddies. I'm supposed to live in a FREE country not a communist state so I expect to watch the FTA channels without being forced to subsidise the liberal/left mouthpiece. I'm sorry but I find the pro BBC people extremely arrogant in the way they expect everyone should fund their television viewing habbits. If it was left to me I'd change the aw so everyone who likes the BBC could only watch that rubbish while everyone else had a CHOICE

www.tvlicenceresistance.info

TV Licence said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should they give their DVDs away as well? "

If you have a BBC TV Licence you should only pay for the packaging yes or are you one of those people who buys a can of coke and then charges yourself another 50p to get it out of the fridge

TV Licence said...

"Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Iain
There is a post at 2.17pm from someone who says he is

Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog)"

I don't think he's the only one they pay to do this. I know one particular forum {digitalspy)where certain people will only post about the BBC and attack those who say anything against it. One of these people has 36000 posts on the subject

TV Licence said...

"While the UKTV channels and BBC America are partly owned by the BBC's commercial arm they DO NOT have first call on programmes funded solely by the licence payer.
Sci-FI out-bid BBC America for Doctor Who"

You are talking rubbish. America was one of the last places to get Dr Who because they wanted so much for it yes I agree. They wanted to hold it back so they could put this on BBC America but SciFi did come in to offer something the mighty BBC couldn't refuse. Now you will see the newest shows on BBC America first because they've tied in the rights with them so please get your facts straight Mr BBC. Anyone with half a braincell knows that BBC America shouldn't be getting anything new because the shows should be put out to bid when the new shows like Robin Hood arent!

TV Licence said...

Could Iain please tell us how many BBC Ip's have been on this page ?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

David Gregory (bbc).

You are missing the point. I can get any media I want for free.

No matter how many spoilers you, the BBC, Sony BMG,Time Warner, and Blu Ray or Mad betaMax introduce, somebody somwehere will hack you and pirate it. Face reality!

The BBC, and the rest, should take a long deep breath and accept that the consumer has won.

You only hope, is to provide a free service, paid for by advertising. You are living in the last days of Camelot if you think that we wish to continue to be the recipients of your putative patrictian Auntie knows what is best wisdom.

You have tried to sell me The White Album one too many times. Get off the drugs, wake up and smell the aroma of consumer freedom.

Anonymous said...

People may be interested in this blog post from Ashley Highfield which is partly in response to Iain's post:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/iplayer_figures_and_feedback.html

Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog)

sod said...

The BBC site just freezes when you try to reply which is interesting ;)

I'd also like to point out how they mention Phazer. He's someone over at digitalspy and insists he doesn't work for the BBC even though all his posts are attacking anyone who questions the mighty BBC, yet here he is again.

As I've said before I suspect they have a whole department that just trolls the net looking to smash signs of discontent

Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog) said...

Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet Blog)

SOD and others - As far as I know the BBC does not have "a whole department that just trolls the net looking to smash signs of discontent". If you are interested in how I do my job you may wish to read this blog post:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/how_do_you_do_it.html

homer said...

The iPlayer is a nice application, stable on a Mac.
But;
Shame about the content.
Over produced documentaries & background sound tracks that render dialog inaudible.
I now remember why I got rid of my TV and stopped paying my license fee.
Copyright has no value. I am buying CDs and DVDs at car boot sales for practically nothing.
I doubt if I will listen to many.
Why would anyone want a permanent copy of a BBC broadcast ?
I don't get it.
One look is enough.

homerchirk said...

The iPlayer is a nice application, stable on a Mac.
But;
Shame about the content.
Over produced documentaries & background sound tracks that render dialog inaudible.
I now remember why I got rid of my TV and stopped paying my license fee.
Copyright has no value. I am buying CDs and DVDs at car boot sales for practically nothing.
I doubt if I will listen to many.
Why would anyone want a permanent copy of a BBC broadcast ?
I don't get it.
One look is enough.

TV Licence said...

"As far as I know the BBC does not have "a whole department that just trolls the net looking to smash signs of discontent"

No offence but I have no interest in reading biased/left wing rubbish that the BBC pays you to produce. The sooner the mighty BBC TV Licence is scrapped the better. Once that happens you will be forced to go with what the majority want in this country instead of the liberal/left

TV Licence said...

Oh and Nick you are proof that the BBC has a department that just seeks out discontent in regards to the BBC. You spend sometime at the BBC site yes but most of the time you are on non BBC forums/blog sites like this ;)

I wonder how many people like Nick the BBC employs just to do this ?