Entertaining reactions to BBC Worldwide's P2P move
There has been a lot of entertaining reaction across the web to the announcement that BBC Worldwide will be distributing some shows via the Zudeo service in the USA.
On TechCruch, Michael Arrington sparked another U.S. vs U.K. flame war with his (tongue-firmly-in-cheek I'm sure) comment that:
Under the agreement, BBC will license a number of television shows to U.S. users, including Red Dwarf, Strange and Invasion Earth, Little Britain, Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Coupling, Keeping Up Appearances, League of Gentlemen and Ideal.
It is a tragedy that they didn’t include the only BBC show worth watching, The Office.
Mind you, even I was shocked to see that someone thinks there is an American download market for 'Keeping Up Appearances'.
My favourite comment in the ensuing fall-out was from Chris:
This stuff better not be free. We in the UK have to pay a license fee (TV tax) to the BBC every year. If they start giving it away like some $3 whore on the Internet they can stick the fee.
Obviously it is the BBC's commercial arm involved, and so whatever revenue is generated, or at least some of the profits from it, should get paid back in to the BBC's public service coffers.
It has also sparked off an interesting debate on the BBC's own backstage.bbc.co.uk mailing list - which can be peeked at via the unofficial archive. Basically it boils down to some people saying "Let everything be downloaded for free now", and a few BBC net-heads asking "Have you ever sat down with a performance rights lawyer to try and get that kind of things agreed?". It has been, after all, only in the last year or so that a deal with PACT started allowing the BBC to experiement with things like catch-up TV on the BBC Two site.
By far the funniest comment though, if unintentionally so, is Bobbie Johnson's piece in the Guardian's technolog blog - "BBC deal with filesharing site: but what about Brits?":
My question is "what about us in the UK?". As far as I can ascertain, none of this applies to UK consumers. We're still waiting the long-trailed interactive media player - which will let home viewers download and watch BBC programming over the net. Years after work first started, it's still not out for general consumption. Instead we have to watch as the Beeb makes deals with outside interests while we twiddle our thumbs waiting for the Real Deal.
Isn't it madness when British viewers are the last to be able to get hold of BBC content?
It certainly does seem like madness. But then that madness is partially due to the fact that once the BBC had trialled their iMP technology, they had to shut it down for a period of evaluation. Getting the iPlayer to the public has involved a lengthy consultation period with OFCOM over the market impact of the proposed new service, and requires the approval of the new BBC Trust in a 'Public Value Test'. And why does it have to jump through those hoops? Well, that is due in no small part to the frantic lobbeying by BIPA against the iPlayer and bbc.co.uk in general - an organisation of which Guardian Unlimited itself is a prominent member.