The Next Stage of a More Personal BBC for Everyone
Last September, we outlined our plans to make the BBC more personal and relevant to you. We’re doing this by making some changes that mean you will need to sign in with a BBC account to access BBC iPlayer, BBC iPlayer Radio and some other services.
By personalising your BBC, we can help you find the best of public service broadcasting. By finding out more about you and what you like we can make better content, make it more relevant, and bring it to you more effectively.
Signing in allows you to receive recommendations for programmes you might like. You can receive alerts about world events, hot topics and things you’ve told us you’re interested in. You can also get other benefits like starting to watch a programme on one device and picking up where you left off on another.
What we’ve been up to
On average three million people who are signed in are now using the BBC’s websites and apps per month.
They’re already benefitting from this better, more personal, BBC. We’ve been making millions of personalised recommendations each month – with one billion recommendations made in the last year.
And people who have signed in are getting more value from the BBC. From October to December 2016, people who were signed in spent over 20 per cent more time watching, listening and reading content on the BBC’s websites and apps each week than people who were not signed in.
Back in September, we also updated our sign-in system to be even more robust and secure than the previous one.
What’s changing today?
We don’t want any of you to miss out, so we’re now taking the next steps to ensure everyone gets the best from your BBC.
From today, if you’re not already signed in, a window will pop-up when you go to watch and listen to programmes on our BBC iPlayer and BBC iPlayer Radio website and mobile and tablet apps.
If you already have a BBC account but haven’t signed in yet, you just need to sign in here. If you haven’t, then you can register for an account here. We’ve made it really easy, and we only need your email and a few other details to make sure you get the best possible experience.
Knowing what you watch, read or listen to will help us recommend more programmes you might like. And having basic details like your gender and age helps us better understand how different people use our programmes and services so we can continue to improve them and give everyone the best possible value for their licence fee.
At the moment, you won’t be required to sign in if you’re watching on a Connected TV. But if your TV supports it, and you choose to do so, then you’ll be able to benefit from features such as starting to watch a programme on one device and picking up where you left off on your TV.
Is this linked to my TV Licence?
Another question some of you might be asking is whether any of these changes are linked to TV Licensing. Last year the law changed so you now need a TV licence to watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.
The reason we’re making these changes isn’t about enforcing the licence fee – it’s about giving you a better BBC and helping you get the best out of it.
We’ve also been clear that we’re not going to use mass surveillance techniques or ask internet providers for IP addresses. However, the information you provide us with can help TV Licensing ensure that people are abiding by the law and minimise licence fee evasion. By matching email addresses we may be able to identify someone who has told us they don’t need a TV licence while at the same time having signed in and watched iPlayer. So we will now use this alongside our existing enforcement techniques to help identify people who are watching licence fee-funded content without a licence.
Both the National Audit Office and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee have focused on the need to reduce evasion recently. The Government has also asked us to consider whether a verification system is required for BBC iPlayer so that people who are not paying the fee cannot access licence fee-funded content for free. This is something we’re continuing to look at.
We know data privacy is really important to you – especially knowing how your data is being used and for what purposes. That’s why we’re being really transparent.
Our stance is really simple. Wherever we collect and use your data, we will use it to bring you the things that matter to you, surface hidden gems from the BBC that you might not otherwise have found, and improve the BBC’s services to make them the best they can be.
We’ll be open and transparent about what we’re using your data for. You will always be able to change your details or delete your account. We promise to never sell your personal details to anyone.
And we’ll guard and protect your data. The BBC is set up to serve the public, and to help everyone in the UK get the best out of digital technologies and the BBC. We will use your data to serve you better.
More to come
With a summer of live events coming up – from Glastonbury to Wimbledon – plus a host of new and returning programmes, we’re really excited to start giving these new experiences to everyone. From live alerts from Centre Court at Wimbledon to personalised recommendations in the BBC Music app from Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage – we want to bring you the best experiences wherever you are. And it doesn’t stop there. We’re working away here to keep bringing you even more tailored services and experiences to make sure you get the best from your BBC. More on that soon.