Foxtel just announced a deal that would give it exclusive access to content from the BBC from mid-2014 onwards. That means that BBC Comedy and Drama shows will be moved away from their traditional home on the ABC and onto a new channel from Foxtel. Good news, though: Doctor Who and the BBC global iPlayer platform are safe from Foxtel's reach.
The deal, announced today, will see Foxtel create a bigger and better home for the BBC on the Pay TV service, meaning that BBC Comedy and BBC Drama content will be moved from the ABC in mid-2014 onto Foxtel. That particular content will also disappear from ABC's iView platform, too. Some content will be left on the ABC, however, including BBC's natural history and religion content.
Naturally, we were concerned about Doctor Who and the BBC iPlayer platform, so we had a chat to Foxtel to get to the bottom of both.
Foxtel can't mess with deals that are already signed, and for a lot of shows it means that the pay TV network will have to wait until the end of another season to corale certain shows onto its new channel. It turns out, however, that the ABC made a deal with the BBC over Doctor Who that sees it get first-bite at any new series going forward. That's not something that Foxtel can touch unless the ABC turns down the series first, which it's unlikely to do given it rates so well for the national broadcaster.
So what does the deal mean for BBC iPlayer access in Australia? Surely Foxtel wouldn't want people getting access to shows for free via iPlayer that it's charging for on Foxtel and its catch-up app, Foxtel Go, right? Interestingly, there's not a lot that Foxtel can actually do about stopping people getting onto iPlayer.
iPlayer is officially still in the trial phase around the world, but it's a free initiative run directly out of the BBC in the UK and it's not included in the new content deal, meaning that Foxtel can't touch it.
Free Doctor Who and iPlayer for all!