Data Policy Technology

In praise of the iPlayer


In the past I have been very critical of the BBC approach to making their programmes available online, which until December required you to use Microsoft DRM, and hence was PC only. However in December the beeb released the streaming version of
iPlayer using the latest Adobe technology to allow users to watch selected programmes online for a week after they are broadcast, and this is a cross platform service.

I must say this is really well down, the interface is simple and well designed, the quality of the video is very good and the flexibility such as service offers the viewers of the BBC is massive, along with on-demand services offered by virginmedia my cable supplier, my household rarely watches live broadcast TV, other than the news, choosing what to watch, when we want to watch it.

We are not alone the BBC reports today that 3.5 million shows have been streamed or downloaded since Christmas Day. Interestingly the number of people streaming the programmes outnumber those downloading using the Microsoft DRM by a factor of eight.

This could be interesting in context to the expected announcement from Apple that they will now support movie rental from itunes, is it that the video market unlike music is one where we don’t feel it necessary to “own’ the media, or is it now the fact that access to the cloud is so pervasive we don’t mind accessing information when we need it and then throwing it away.

Either way again, you can’t help but draw comparisons with how geodata is licensed, and ask similar questions, for example as a developer building some new houses, would you not want to license the data for just the period of build ?

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

One reply on “In praise of the iPlayer”

Right now in smaller scale development anyway, geodata is purchased once and copied to all parties (architects, surveyors etc) with the one bill passed to the client. Againist licence terms yes, but flexibility is the key here.

Moving to an iplayer style 30 day limit for the data would not be popular especially as it may limit it to one computer. However it all comes down to cost, and if the overall price for that data came down then developers would adopt it.

I believe that the OS and others should certainly look at this method as a means of scrapping their complicated licence structure. It could lead to a ‘long tail’ effect with lots of small scale sales adding up to a tidy sum rather than a fewer number of larger sales.

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