BBC is not known for taking on IT bigwigs, but now it is seriously working on developing a platform that enables its viewers download old and new BBC TV shows against payment, in order to generate additional revenue for the Corporation.
BBC is working to make all its shows available as download-to-own (DTO) at prices ranging from £1.89 per show, under a scheme called Project Barcelona, reported paidContent.org, an IT news website.
The unannounced project will be a turning point in the 85 years history of BBC, which has been struggling in recent years due to inadequate revenue generation to run the company profitably.
BBC has been talking for rights with a section of independent producers who are making some of its shows.
This is with an objective of generating additional revenue for the channel and protect against piracy.
The BBC has offered producers a greater share from each download compared to iTune Store - average of £0.40 on a £1.89 episode fee compared with £0.28 of iTunes - according to the paidContent report.
This way, BBC hopes, it can generate at least £13 million in revenue in the next five years for independent producers.
However, the producers' organisation PACT has been hesitant to agree due to various concerns including uncertainty over revenue share, exclusivity and the potential of cannibalising DVD sales.
As per the existing system, TV and radio shows are available to viewers for up to 30 days after the first tranmission through a multi-platform called iPlayer, after which the rights will be with the commercial unit BBC Worldwide or with the original producers.
Normally licence rights from producers are ending up with iTunes and Blinkbox who are selling against payment.
However, the reason behind the new thinking of BBC is that only seven per cent of its archive is available through third parties for download against payment.
BBC hopes the new project will help make available the remaining 93 per cent content as well.
"In addition to BBC iPlayer, the BBC already makes some of its content available on a download-to-own (DTO) basis. Any proposal to extend this facility would require not just the support of the industry but formal approval by the BBC executive and the BBC Trust," paidContent quoted BBC officials as saying.