BBC Takes A Step Towards Broadcatching?

from the publicity,-publicity,-publicity dept

A little over a year ago, there was a lot of talk about the idea of broadcatching, where instead of focusing on a typical TV channel schedule, show producers would put shows online and offer up an RSS feed and some sort of BitTorrent like distribution mechanism. That way, anyone could just “subscribe” to the shows they wanted, and they’d receive them automatically (at little bandwidth cost to the producers) when a new episode was released. In some ways, podcasting has taken over that idea from the audio side of things. However, now the BBC is taking a very minor step in that direction, as they’re going to debuting a new sitcom online. The show will go online a week before it actually airs on TV, and then be available to download until a week after the series ends. What’s not clear from the announcement, though, is whether they’ll offer up any kind of RSS feed or enclosures for this. Also, it’s unlikely they’ll be using any kind of BitTorrent-like P2P tools to ease their bandwidth needs. However, just the idea of offering up a new television show for download at the same time as it’s playing on TV is an intriguing idea. Plenty of people probably won’t be interested in watching the sitcom on their computers, but for those who do want to watch it that way (or who missed the original showing) it gives them the option. Of course, it’s not clear why they won’t leave it online after the show ends.

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Comments on “BBC Takes A Step Towards Broadcatching?”

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Pete Austin says:

Why they can't leave it online

The BBC has contracts with the people who produce its programmes (either actors and technicians etc., or independent production companies). These contracts determine how the BBC can show the programmes and – depending on negotiations – the BBC may pay more money to show a program via more channels.

In this case it looks like the BBC has bought “Seven Day New Media Rights” but not “Commercial Download Rights” and so it has to remove each show from its Website after seven days. Breach of copyright is a criminal offense in the UK, so failure to do this would be a serious matter.

BBC Contract Guidelines (Large PDF)

“Seven-Day-New-Media Rights” – means the right for the period of 7 days from the relevant BBC transmission of the Programme (or relevant episode thereof) to use the Programme (or part thereof) in any online, interactive television, or other new media services forming part of the BBC Public Services in whatever format now known or invented in the future, which includes for the avoidance of doubt the right to: 1. download (the transfer and storage of a discrete data file) the Programme (or part thereof) by any wire or wireless means including but not limited to the internet…

“Commercial Download Rights” – means the right from the period commencing 7 days after first BBC transmission of the Programme (or relevant episode thereof) to download (the transfer and storage of a discrete data file) or authorise the download of the Programme (or part thereof) or Format (or part thereof) by any wire or wireless means including but not limited to the internet…

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