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Ofcom conditionally approves BBC's proposed iPlayer changes

U.K. media and telecom regulator Ofcom has ultimately granted conditional approval to the British Broadcasting Corp.'s plans to expand its video-on-demand service iPlayer's catch-up window for shows.

The proposed changes include extending the availability of shows on iPlayer to 12 months from 30 days, with children's content accessible for five years. The BBC also intends to add more box-sets of shows to iPlayer.

Ofcom has affirmed its initial view that the plans would deliver "significant public value." However, the watchdog remains concerned about the challenges posed by the changes to other public broadcasters' video-on-demand offers, including upcoming services such as BritBox.

The regulator has thus directed the BBC to create a revised performance measurement framework, which is due by year-end. The public broadcaster will also need to "closely track" the availability of content on iPlayer and how these shows are consumed by audiences.

The conditions will support assessments on iPlayer's potential impacts on competition, as well as on the BBC's fulfillment of its mission and public purposes, Ofcom said.

Ofcom assumed regulatory duties over the BBC in April 2017.