The BBC is adding a slew of classic programming to the iPlayer. These older shows will live in their own section called From the Archive, which launches today. From the Archive means BBC license fee payers will be able to stream classic BBC broadcasts whenever and wherever they want.
The BBC was founded in 1922, and is now the oldest national broadcaster in the world. The BBC launched the iPlayer in 2007, when streaming television was still very much in its infancy. And it’s now a staple for anyone resident in the UK. Everyone else can choose between BritBox and Acorn TV.
The BBC Plunders Its Archives
Shows available on the iPlayer have, until now, been recent broadcasts. They’re available for between 7- and 30-days, and then they disappear. But now the BBC is adding a selection of older shows to the iPlayer. A move which makes sense given the forthcoming loss of the BBC Store.
There are initially around 450 shows available in From the Archive, with the BBC promising to add more “in the coming years”. Highlights include Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, The Great War Interviews, and a whole host of documentaries, including some by David Attenborough.
From the Archive turns the BBC iPlayer from a service similar to Hulu, providing access to recent shows, to a service more akin to Netflix, where old and new shows mix freely. However, while Netflix buys old shows in from third-parties, the BBC has decades of old archives to plunder.
As noted above, the BBC iPlayer is only freely available to television viewers resident in the UK. However, in the same way a good VPN will you access other countries’ Netflix offerings, there are ways around this geoblocking. You just need to ask Uncle Google for some much-needed advice.
Reinventing the BBC iPlayer
This is likely to be the first in a series of changes aimed at reinventing the BBC iPlayer over the next few years. The BBC wants the iPlayer to become the biggest streaming service in the UK, and able to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. From the Archive is a promising start.
Do you regularly watch content using the BBC iPlayer? Are you resident in the UK? Or do you use a workaround from elsewhere? What do you think of the BBC adding older shows to iPlayer? How else could the BBC improve iPlayer? Please let us know in the comments below!