BBC StoreThe British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC Store  is to offer buy-to-own permanent digital copies of current shows and archive classics from the estimated 4 million items that the BBC has on file (further details here).

Individual shows will go for an average price of around £1.89 ($2.87), with full series prices rising to £6.99 ($10.60). Other content channels will remain open, including the BBC’s free online viewing service for UK TV licence holders.

Admittedly, the BBC’s model is somewhat different from most commercial content owners, in that it is (mostly) publicly funded by the UK television licence. But the BBC is also going out explicitly to make money with the BBC Store. “The aim is to help make £1.2 billion [$1.82 billion] for the BBC over next five years,” says the BBC. Currently, the Store has some 7,000 hours of programming online, but the goal is to open up the entire BBC archive in due course.

Hopefully we’ll be spared any embarrassing episodes like Amazon’s remote deletion of copies of 1984 from users’ Kindles. Of course, there is still the troubling issue of Silverlight DRM (as well as the fact that Silverlight does not currently work on iOS and Android machines).

Given the treasures the BBC has in its vaults, I hope it can avoid further government pressure on its funding structure too.


  1. “And the BBC may sidestep many of the bizarre restrictions that most DRM-encumbered content downloads labor under.”

    The files are encumbered with Silverlight DRM, so probably not.

    Unless I missed something, there’s no Silverlight support for Android or iOS. So at a minimum you have a platform restriction.

  2. @Nate: Thanks. We’ve revised the original post to note the use of Silverlight. In addition, it appears that geo-based hassles indeed exist, at least on use of already-bought copies. Clearly “protection” is in use. Yes, the best DRM is none! – David

    From BBC FAQ in regard to geo restrictions:

    Can I watch my programmes abroad?
    “The way to do that is before you go abroad stream it to your computer, then download it from there so you can take it abroad.
    “I’m going to Australia this weekend and I’ve downloaded Peaky Blinders and that’s what I’m going to watch on the plane. I’ve got series one and series two.”

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