Well, this is a rarity – the BBC Trust backing the BBC’s online decisions…
Little-known IPTV company IP Vision had wanted to build its own implementation of iPlayer on its Fetch TV set-top box, but the BBC refused to support. IP Vision complained to the trust that this breached the BBC’s fair trading policy and guidelines, competition law and the BBC’s own on-demand syndication policy and guidelines.
But, in a ruling out Monday, the trust rejected those complaints, concluding: “The executive had provided reasonable arguments as to why implementing a self-build iPlayer for IP Vision could have jeopardised both value for money and the BBC’s brand.”
The BBC finds itself having to consider whether to build new iPlayer implementations for the growing wealth of new platforms; it’s already on about 23, including Wii, iPhone and PS3. It really wants to rely on those such devices deploying existing technologies like HTML and built-in media players to make iPlayer tick.
The IP Vision case led the BBC in October to clarify the situations under which it will support such custom iPlayer builds on services other than its own. It said it will only consider technology adjustments for platforms with over 100,000 users and whole custom builds for those with over 500,000 users. At the same time, it banned third parties like IP Vision implementing iPlayer without consent.
But the trust does say that this change to the BBC’s syndication policy should have been run through the trust for approval. It’s beginning a review in to the policy in January. In the meantime, the BBC is reverting to its previous policy, online TV platforms controller Rahul Chakkra writes.