The BBC has officially kicked off its initiative to share iPlayer technology with commercial rivals.
Speaking at the IBC technology conference in Amsterdam, BBC Future Media and Technology director Erik Huggers revealed that Coronation Street is one of the most popular search terms on the corporation’s VoD service. But despite this, the emphasis is on sharing the technology with other broadcasters for use on their own VoD sites, rather than introducing third party content onto the iPlayer.
The initiative, previously known as Project Marquee, will now be called OpeniPlayer. It is, Huggers said, a “concept not of aggregation, but federation”.
He said: “Rather than aim for moving all content onto one single site under a single search box and domain, this is about making sure each and every broadcaster around the world has the ability to run its own on-demand capability and to ensure that traffic between broadcasters can occur seamlessly.”
Huggers also suggested that commercial broadcasters would be able to improve their own VoD brands using the technology, reducing the need for them to tie-up with content aggregators.
“iPlayer is not something you can stick on a DVD, install and run,” he said. “It’s an end to end system that brings a lot of different systems together. The concept of opening up our investment and technology infrastructure, knowledge of metadata, back-end systems, user experience and design, is front and centre for us in helping other broadcasters achieve their goal in continuing to have a direct relationship with users rather than being disintermediated by third party aggregators.”
OpeniPlayer is one of the BBC’s myriad partnership proposals designed to boost commercial rivals through sharing knowledge, infrastructure and technology, and to help avoid the prospect of top-slicing the licence fee.