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BBC Trust Scotches Plan to Share iPlayer

The BBC Trust has rejected a proposal that would allow UK broadcasters such as Channel 4, ITV and Five to share the BBC's iPlayer technology.

The BBC Trust, the body that oversees the BBC, announced Tuesday it thought the scheme "was not the best way to share the BBC iPlayer or to deliver increased public value to licence fee payers".

The initiative was intended to operate partly as a commercial venture, generating revenue from licensing the technology to other broadcasters, and partly as a public service offering – plans that the Trust deemed too complex.

"We were not convinced that there was enough potential value to licence fee payers in the public service part of the proposal, and we have therefore rejected the BBC Executive's proposals for an open iPlayer federation," BBC trustee and chair of the Trust's strategic approvals committee Diane Coyle said in a statement.

The public service side of the project would involve setting up a federation of British broadcasters, which would then provide access to their on-demand video content via the iPlayer. The project would also see the creation of a new listings website, providing access to a selection of content provided by the federation partners.

The Trust said it did not believe the federation was necessary for iPlayer to be shared by other broadcasters.

It also added the degree of co-operation needed between major UK content producers would also need scrutinising to see what effect it could have on competition.

"If the BBC invested a lot of money in it and then it was found to have competition issues, then it wouldn't really be a good thing for the licence-fee payers," a BBC Trust spokesman told

However, the Trust reiterated its support for the principle of sharing the iPlayer.

"The Trust is open to considering an alternative proposal for the licensing of the iPlayer technology to third parties if that can be done on a simple, fair and commercial basis," said Coyle.

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