It what series editor Nick Fraser describes as a “bold experiment,” the superb Storyville documentary series will premiere its new Modern Outlaws Season on its VOD iPlayer service prior to releasing it on linear TV. This interesting decision sees the iPlayer launch on October 12 and the linear launch October 21. The documentaries are Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival) , Smash And Grab: The Story Of The Pink Panthers and The Great Hip-Hop Hoax.
“Storyville has been doing very well on BBC iPlayer,” says Fraser, “ and we want to see how our films do when they are premiered there. It’s another step on the way to making documentaries freely available in any medium through the BBC.”
Says Victoria Jaye, head of TV content, BBC iPlayer: “We want to increase their exposure and attract audiences who might miss them in the schedule. This forms part of our BBC iPlayer trial to premiere up to 40 hours of programs across the service, and we’re excited to see how the audience [responds] to us more creatively harnessing BBC iPlayer to complement how they discover our programs.”
Earlier this year BBC Three announced it would make a number of comedies available on the iPlayer before their TV air dates, but this is a first in the factual/documentary field, and the fact that Storyville is indubitably a “flagship” production makes it even more significant.
When even old Auntie is finding herself so inclined, changes in the VOD/linear power dynamic are surely afoot.