Blog Post

BBC iPlayer Costs At Least £5.2 Million A Year

The BBC has just published costs for its iPlayer catch-up TV and radio service, which has helped popularise time-shifted consumption in the UK, in response to a Freedom Of Information request

Pre-launch costs of £5.7 million (it was conceived as iMP in 2005 before launch in 2007).

Development costs of £4.8 million over four years to fiscal year ending March 2011.

Other current costs of about £4 million per year for transcoding, metadata, editorial oversight, support.

On these figures, developing iPlayer will have a cost of £10.5 million between 2005 and 2011, plus about £12 million in operation costs, making for a lifetime total of at least £22.5 million by next March.

The listed current ongoing development and operational costs work out at £5.2 million on an annualised basis.

Some further iPlayer-related costs are accounted for in other budgets, says the BBC. And the corporation is declining to reveal additional related licence costs paid to contractors like Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Siemens, citing commercial confidentiality.

The online service licence issued to the BBC by the BBC Trust in August 2009 had already mandated and disclosed the £4.8 million, four-year development costs and an annual operation budget of £3.9 million; it’s the pre-launch costs we had not previously seen alongside them.