BBC to offer TV online through MyBBCPlayer

The BBC is to launch MyBBCPlayer, a new on-demand service that allows licence-fee payers to download TV programmes online.

Delivering a speech at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, unveiled plans for MyBBCPlayer to be launched from 2006, calling the next decade "a decade of on-demand".

The service will feature a host of content such as on-demand versions of BBC programmes from the previous seven days and an "ever-expanding" proportion of the BBC archive. The player will also include live feeds of BBC One and BBC Two.

The corporation will partner with online sites Google and Autonomy to develop the sites.

Thompson argued that on-demand services will improve public value in the increasing uncertainty about the future of public service broadcasting and the corporation securing its licence fee.

"I accept the premise that if the BBC remains nothing more than a traditional TV and radio broadcaster, then we probably won't deserve or get licence-fee funding beyond 2016," he said.

Thompson said that the country could only arrive at a digital Britain when every household has access not just to digital television, but also to rich and interactive on-demand services.

"That's when the real gains in public value -- in educational potential, in civic connectivity, in user-based creativity, in the opening up of resources like the BBC's amazing archive -- that's when the real gains kick in," he said.

Thompson plans to launch the MyBBCPlayer by the end of 2006, subject to approval.

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