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iPlayer to be BBC’s ‘fifth channel’

The BBC has announced the creation of a “Controller of iPlayer” role, with the aim of developing the catch-up TV service into the corporation’s fifth channel.

Danny Cohen, the BBC’s Director of Television, said “BBC iPlayer is an increasingly important part of the way viewers enjoy our content. From now on I want us to think of BBC iPlayer as having the same status and value as a linear channel service. In essence, it becomes our fifth channel, creating and sharing content alongside our linear services.”

The controller will manage programming as well as the budget, which Cohen said will be “a few million pounds”.

Cohen’s plans dove-tail with details of the evolution of BBC iPlayer announced by Director General Tony Hall on 8 October.

This new content role reports directly to Cohen and will take overall charge of the exclusive online content planned for BBC iPlayer, ranging from short-form, through improved curation to the premiering of BBC shows in advance of their transmission on the linear channels.