BBC iPlayer gets total revamp to challenge Netflix dominance

It concedes it can't compete financially with the likes of Netflix and Amazon but can promote individual talent

BBC iPlayer is set for a major aesthetic and user experience overhaul in a bid to compete with other streaming platforms.

Corporation bosses, who are to announce details of the revamp at an event later today (October 7) are expected to say that it will win back stars including Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The Fleabag creator recently signed up to an exclusive, reported £50 million three-year deal with Amazon Studios.

BBC Director General Tony Hall is expected to say that the transformation will offer viewers a “human touch”.


“iPlayer is a great service. But it can and will be even better. The BBC’s combination of backing great and different ideas, alongside a complete reinvention of iPlayer, will mean a unique service that will be of huge benefit to the public,” Hall will say, according to ITV News.

“It will be a new front door for British creativity. There are exciting times ahead.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in ‘Fleabag’. Credit: Press/BBC

Charlotte Moore, Director of Content at the BBC, will say: “iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programmes – a ‘total TV’ experience which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time.

“There’s something else that makes our vision for iPlayer unique and special. In fact it’s the vital thing. It’s curated. We’re talking about a cutting-edge tech platform, run by humans. Because in a world of so much content and choice, a dynamic curated offering will become more and more important to people and will set the BBC apart.”

Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy in ‘Peaky Blinders’. Credit: Press/BBC


It’s set to be the biggest transformation of the streaming service since its launch in 2007. The BBC conceded that it “cannot compete financially with the coffers of Netflix” but “it can promote individual talent” across its services through box-sets and podcasts.

Ofcom recently gave the BBC the green light to allow its for iPlayer content to be streamed and/or downloaded beyond the original 30-day limit.

Additionally, iNews reports that the BBC’s long-standing numbered TV channels could be renamed in an effort to keep the service fresh.

The new iPlayer will be rolled out in 2020. In the meantime, the BBC has scrapped its radio channels on the platform and moved them over to its new BBC Sounds app.