New BBC services under scrutiny
Ofcom has published the outline of its investigation of the market impact of new BBC services.
The Terms of Reference for the Market Impact Assessment (MIA) will examine the likely market impact of four BBC new on-demand services, including the BBC iPlayer, which lets consumers view live and recent BBC television programmes over the Internet and download audio content.
The Government’s Charter and Agreement on the future of the BBC proposed that all new or substantially changed BBC services should be subject to a Public Value Test (PVT) by the BBC Trust. The PVT consists of a Public Value Assessment, performed by the BBC Governance Unit, and an Ofcom MIA. The MIA is intended to ensure that the BBC’s new services are, as Ofcom explained, ‘consistent with the development of a vibrant and dynamic commercial sector’.
The BBC announced on 31 August the BBC announced that it had begun work on the PVT. Ofcom will deliver its MIA to the BBC Governors by 15 December 2006 and it is expected that the results of the MIA will be published alongside the BBC Trust’s preliminary conclusions in early 2007.
The Terms of Reference have been agreed by a joint steering group which includes representatives from the BBC Governors and Ofcom and are published at ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/bbcmias/ondemand/. A press release was also published by the BBC today – it can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice.