BBC Store lets users download shows to keep
The BBC has unveiled a new online store for users to buy and download digital copies of its shows to keep, with purchased shows appearing in iPlayer.
BBC Store will place the corporation's digital offerings in more direct competition with the likes of Amazon's Prime video streaming service, as well as TV and film subscription service Netflix. Technology giants Apple and Google also offer online entertainment stores.
Users can visit the BBC Store to buy and download single episodes or entire series of shows, including past series of Doctor Who and the first series of Poldark.
The BBC said the service will be an extension of the iPlayer "catch-up" offering, giving users a place to permanently buy digital versions of shows in addition to streaming them.
As well as recent and popular shows, the Store will also offer unique collections and box sets.
Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer, said: "The launch of BBC Store coincides with a significant milestone in the evolution of BBC iPlayer: the addition of 'Places to buy' links, enabling users to discover programmes to buy and keep and to watch BBC Store purchases back on iPlayer."
BBC Worldwide's Marcus Arthur said: "We want BBC Store to do for digital ownership what BBC iPlayer did for catch-up. BBC Store makes digital ownership really easy for audiences and means that we can begin opening up the incredible BBC television archive."
Amazon's Prime membership offers users the opportunity to stream as well as buy and keep digital versions of TV shows, and this extension of iPlayer is a clear sign of the BBC moving into a similar market. Streaming TV and movies has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to the rise of services such as Netflix.
James Brown, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "Paying a one-time fee to download and own content is one of the fastest growing markets in entertainment. It's seen 64% value growth and over 600,000 new shoppers in the past year, with almost a fifth of those new to digital video buying through this format.
"Two-thirds of the population used BBC's iPlayer in the last year, so the corporation is ideally placed to take advantage of the current boom in download-to-own services. All of the big players have witnessed strong growth in this market this year, with Google, Amazon and Sky all capitalising on their large existing customer base, something the BBC will be looking to emulate."