The following story I find interesting for the implications of what has occurred rather than the indefinitely delayed iPlayer.
The BBC offers a free application to the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 users called iPlayer. The UK based application is available online and provides users with access to an array of multimedia goodies. If this application makes it to the Xbox 360, it will impart users with a larger library of television shows and radio stations to enjoy. Coupling that with the services from Netflix and Last.fm, the Xbox 360 suddenly has a very large piece of the multimedia market-share.
According to the Telegraph:
“Microsoft only wants to offer its users access to platforms it can charge for as this is the model it is pursuing. It wants to ensure that only those paying for Xbox LIVE Gold accounts can access its additional content services and even then there is usually a charge on top to get access to those. For example, to access the Sky Player on Xbox, you have to pay for a Gold subscription as well as a Sky subscription,” explained one of the sources close to the BBC.
“This does not fit with the BBC’s model and Microsoft will not budge at the moment. It is really frustrating for those involved on the BBC side who want to make sure iPlayer is rolled out on as many popular entertainment platforms as possible.”
What is interesting here is that this is not the first time Microsoft has refused to allow other companies to publish their material free on LIVE. Valve is the classic example, as they release their updates (with new content) for free to their PC community and wished to continue this fine tradition with the LIVE community. Microsoft allowed them the only possible recourse by stating you cannot include achievements with free updates. That, in my opinion, is lame.
In this case, the BBC cannot charge the public access to the iPlayer, since any potential costs that could incur from streaming their entertainment has already been taken care of in the license fee. This is a situation where the BBC must continue to provide their content for free, while Microsoft’s policy demands a charge.
I fail to see why Microsoft should be demanding any money at all. I understand that, in America, we pay $50 a year to have access to free services like Last.fm, Twitter, and Facebook, but why charge the BBC when they also provide a free service. Microsoft should be looking at any way to secure more “goodies” to bolster their LIVE platform. Facebook and Netflix are now multiplatform applications, when will Last.fm join it? Microsoft needs more to win the battle of offered content.