BBC to Launch U.K. Online Download Store by Mid-2015

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BBC Store will allow users to browse and purchase BBC content

The BBC Store, an online service that will allow users in the U.K. to browse and purchase BBC content for download, will launch in the second quarter of 2015. It will be integrated with the broadcaster's iPlayer service at a later date.

Speaking at IHS Technology’s PEVE Entertainment Business Futures Conference at the British Museum in London on Tuesday, BBC Worldwide’s U.K. and Australia/New Zealand president Marcus Arthur called the BBC Store a "massive opportunity" to help drive electronic sell-through.

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"We hope this will do for downloading what iPlayer has done for catch-up" TV viewing, Arthur said, adding that BBC Store would also inform customers that they could buy content elsewhere, such as via Amazon and iTunes, to ensure platform neutrality. "Crucially for us it is as much about the archive as it is about current content," he said, pointing out that only six per cent of BBC product has ever been available to buy.

Arthur also said that the BBC would have the ability to grow what it offers in the U.K. internationally under other business models. He admitted that Global iPlayer, its trial run at taking the iPlayer digital video player internationally as a commercial product, was still "very small" as a business after two years.

Earlier this year, the BBC Trust – the broadcaster’s independent governing body – approved plans for the BBC Store, having analyzed public value, commercial efficiency and compliance with competition and state aid rules.