BBC tells Microsoft to “get to fuck” (I’m paraphrasing here).

So, I don’t watch much TV amymore, pretty much because 99% of it is mindless celebrity-worshipping, house-improving, public-ridiculing pointless drivel.

New! Britains Ugliest Dumb Child! Phone in and vote for your favorite!

Every time you turn the damn thing on it is some pointless, no-brain-required phone-in votey type bullshit that has absolutely no value whatsoever, and is annoyingly followed by 80% of the brain-dead population who probably couldn’t even spell “anathema”.

However, what I do like to do is watch those programmes that I enjoy on BBC’s iPlayer. I refuse to use the other players from the other channels. ITV’s is a pile of utter wank that seems to only have soaps and celebrity phone-in nonsense (Britan’s Hardest Street Gangs vs. Chopper Coppers Buying Houses To Do Up, On Ice!! Phone in and vote for your favorite!) and pretty much  nothing that may have been on in the last few days (kind of missing the point of a ‘catch-up’ service there, ITV). Channel 4’s 4OD service does have a few good programmes but the service and player itself is so janky and broken that I refuse to use it (oh dear, lost your stream half way through after waiting five minutes for the damn player to load up on your third attempt watching Time Team? Tough shit, sit through all the damn adverts at the start again, please. And wait whilst the player spools for a minute after you drag the slidey thing across).

So I depend on the iPlayer. It is awesome. Missed your favorite show? Then it is probably on the iPlayer straight after broadcast for 7 days. Slow connection mean you can’t stream for shit? No worries, just download it and watch it within 7 days. Fast connection? Great, enjoy the HD versions of most programmes. Connection dropped half way through? No problem, refresh the page when you are back on and it will carry on where you left off. Oh, and there are NO ADVERTS because your license paid for this stuff. Enjoy!

But you know what would be even better? Watching this stuff on my big-ass shiny LCD, with surround sound. Not my pokey litte PC screen with two dodgy speakers. And I just happen to have a games console connected to it. And games consoles are becoming the new media hubs. And you know what else? Seems good old Auntie Beeb agrees, as they provide the iPlayer to Playstation 3 owners who have the consoles connnected to their big-ass TVs. Great.

Except, yeah, it’s an Xbox 360 that I have hooked up. But now the 360 is no longer just a console, with facebook, Twitter, streaming instant-on movies, Sky TV and Last FM, we’ll be getting the iPlayer soon as well then, yeah?

Um…no. Although the BBC is mandated by its Royal Charter to provide its service by any and all current means possible, which it does, and really, really wants to let console owners access the content, they have basically told Microsoft to go fuck themselves. Maybe not exactly said that. But it was intoned.

The problem is that Microsoft want to leverage as much content on their service as they can to paid Gold Live subscribers. That’s fine, it’s their service, and the Gold subscribers pay to keep it going. No worries there. I happily pay for my Live. However, whilst this is fine, Microsoft can’t understand why the BBC are refusing to allow the iPlayer on Live.

It’s really simple, Microsoft: the BBC are not allowed to charge for streaming or broadcast of  their programming outside the Licence Fee that we all pay. It is a non-profit organisation. So there is no way in hell the BBC are going to let iPlayer be exclusive to Gold Live subscribers. This would, effectively be charging people for something that they have already paid for – with their licence fee. The only way around this would be if Microsoft purchased the broadcast rights – the BBC can charge distributors. This is how channels like Dave can broadcast on a paid service like Sky or Cable, and broadcast BBC programmes – they have bought them first.

Somehow, I don’t see Microsoft doing that any time soon. Apparently so far they are refusing to back down.

MS:   “We want to make iPlayer exclusive to our Gold members”
BBC: “What, so people have to pay to get what they have already paid for, and can get free on the internet because they have already paid for it by default?”
MS:   “Oh yes.”
BBC:  “Er…I don’t think so. We’re a public service.”
MS:   “But Sky do it!”
BBC: “Then Sky subscrbers are idiots if they don’t realise they are paying twice. Good day to you sir.”

So don’t hold your breath. Irony is, if Microsoft offered it to Gold and Silver subscribers BBC would be happy, and Xbox Live would be in a win-win because demand would be increased – especially for those who don’t  want to pay twice for Sky. And, who knows, getting a lot more Silver subscribers can’t be a bad thing – the other features on there may encourage them to go Gold.



One Comment

  1. Posted January 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nice rant, saved me saying it 😉 It wouldn’t hurt M$ to make iPlayer available to all in the UK (silver and gold accounts), anyone in another country wouldn’t be paying for it through their license fees anyway.

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