BBC to distribute TV via iTunes?

February 18, 2008 // 8:45 a.m.

Tags: #apple #bbc #distribution #itunes #rumour #tv

The BBC is to announced a partnership with Apple to distribute content via the iTunes Store this Tuesday, if rumours are to be believed.

The Register claims information from a “TV industry source” indicates a partnership is in the works. The Register goes on to claim that the BBC's Digital Media Directory Simon Danker has told production partners to ready themselves for “the new distribution channel” and that the team up will be officially announced tomorrow.

Although a deal to make the BBC's iPlayer distribution system available to AppleTV owners was always on the cards, a deal to distribute content via iTunes changes the nature of the game somewhat. It's highly unlikely that the content will be made freely available – as the 'catch-up' service on iPlayer currently is – and many people will be displeased at the thought of paying for content twice, once via the mandatory TV Licence and the again at point of purchase via iTunes.

If the BBC can avoid irritating its consumers too much – after all, the corporation already produces retail DVD versions of its TV Licence-funded content, and no-one complains too loudly about that – then both Apple and the BBC have a lot to gain from the rumour link-up. Additionally, a switch from the Microsoft Windows Media Video format used on the iPlayer platform to the MPEG-4 codec is likely to please non-Microsofties.

Whether the BBC and Apple will actually launch such a venture – especially with the Project Kangaroo joint venture between the Beeb, ITV, and Channel 4 peeping over the horizon – remains to be seen. I guess we'll be able to prove or disprove the rumours for you tomorrow.

A neat idea, or is this an even worse idea than the original iPlayer was? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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