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BBC iPlayer

In the news yesterday, reports that James Murdoch is complaining about BBC iPlayer taking trade from, well people like him. Its called ‘distorting the competitive landscape’. What the report failed to mention is that it works slightly differently from the way he imagines. Though the BBC have pumped tens of millions of tax payer’s money into setting up iPlayer (ITV’s version costing a fraction of the iPlayer at something like £30m, is a pale imitation and too fiddly), it is free to use from the BBC’s point of view. However, the ISPs do not like it either. For example BT are charging for GB used on top of the monthly bandwidth allowance. This seems to work out at about 25 – 30 p for a GB or slightly more, which is not unreasonable.

So the shift in the competitive landscape is not only between broadcasters like Sky in competition with the BBC but from people like Sky to the ISPs such as BT, who don’t even produce the materials they are charging for!

The debate on iPlayer did not start with Murdoch. For example, this August 2007 article in The Register, BT rubbishes BBC bandwidth throttling reports, mentions :

(1) bandwidth demands of the iPlayer may be too much for ISPs to bear

(2) BT’s only concern over iPlayer was that people would be unaware that the Kontiki P2P distribution system which runs in the background would be eating into their monthly GB usage allowance even when they are not viewing or downloading.


April 28, 2008 - Posted by | BBC iPlayer | , ,

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