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BBC to trial online-first delivery of selected shows

UK broadcaster the BBC has plans to broadcast selected shows online ahead of their scheduled TV transmission, in an effort to further increase usage of its popular iPlayer service.

The BBC Trust has approved a 12-month trial which will see up to 40 hours of programming across a range of genres made available on the iPlayer first, whetting demand for shows among the more online-savvy audiences and boosting its iPlayer stats.

There were a record number of requests for TV and radio programmes on the iPlayer last year – 2.32bn in total, up from 1.94bn in 2011.

A large part of this however is due to the 2012 London Olympics, which generated record peaks in demand for iPlayer during key moments in the sporting action.

The BBC has already shown online-only content, but this has so far been limited to pilots and one-off shows such as the ‘Doctor Who’ spinoff ‘Pond Life’.

Editor’s view: This is a fascinating move by the UK’s publicly-funded broadcaster – targeting its more online-savvy viewers should turbocharge discussion of its new programmes on social media networks and further build momentum for these shows.

While online video service Netflix recently started experimenting with online-only shows, spending an estimated US$ 100mn on the Kevin Spacey political drama series ‘House of Cards’, the results are not yet in for this brave venture, although critical reception so far has been favourable.

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