BBC, ITV to take shows online
Broadcasters all in for on-demand technology
"We are combining the best of TV with the best of the Web to create a service unrivaled by any other commercial broadcaster, anywhere in the world," says ITV executive chairman Michael Grade. "Some (broadcasters) are already streaming their channels, some are providing catchup and some are building their archive, but ITV.com will provide all three."
BBC new media topper Ashley Highfield described the iPlayer as a milestone in the Beeb's long evolution.
"This is a critical part of the BBC's strategy to maintain impact and relevance in a world where viewing and listening habits are shifting from linear to nonlinear," he says.
Highfield needs no reminding that for the Beeb to remain relevant in an on-demand world, it must continue to embrace new media vigorously.
If not, the BBC's claim on the public purse via the license fee levied on all U.K. homes with a TV set will become tenuous -- and quickly so. By 2012, 10% of TV viewing will occur online, predicts the BBC, a view supported by most industry think tanks.
British webheads, reeling from a tough advertising market and audience fragmentation, have witnessed what has happened to the music industry and the shift of ad revenue from print to the Web, and are determined to be up to the challenge.
Says Matthew Horsman, co-founder of London consultancy Mediatique: "Broadcasters have no choice but to launch these services. In the U.S., platforms are driving this, but in the U.K., it is content providers. Print is having its lunch eaten by online, but broadcasting isn't."
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