updated 11:43 am EST, Fri February 8, 2013
Year-long trial to allow 40-hours of online programming
The BBC Trust is allowing the BBC to put some of its television programs onto the BBC iPlayer on-demand service before being broadcast. The 12-month trial will consist of up to 40 hours of assorted TV shows appearing on iPlayer ahead of their scheduled transmission through normal channels, as the corporation tests it's effectiveness.
Statistics from BBC News claim that there were 2.32 billion requests for TV shows and radio programming during 2012, up from the 1.94 billion received in 2011, with the Olympic events of the summer playing a significant role in that increase. Previously, the BBC has shown a few shows online without an accompanying TV broadcast, but this was only performed for pilots and one-off shows that would not be broadcast normally. Though such a test will potentially increase the usage of iPlayer, the service currently only accounts for two percent of the corporation's total viewing figures.
The broadcasting of shows early as an online-exclusive brings the BBC in line with other streaming services that provide their own original content offerings, in order to improve their subscriber numbers. Netflix offers Arrested Development and, more recently, House of Cards, while Amazon Studios is producing a set of six comedy pilots, with the most popular shows being greenlit to a full series. Hulu recently showcased three new shows, including a pair of comedies and a docu-series, at the same time as announcing a number of exclusive shows produced elsewhere.