BBC unveils nextgeneration iPlayer plans, open digital store for old TV shows

The BBC believes it's only just getting started with its iPlayer catch-up service and has laid out new plans for it to become the corporation's primary source of digital content. Led by Director-General Tony Hall, the BBC says it will commit to more exclusive content for online audiences, focusing on popular brands like Doctor Who and Eastenders, while extending the availability of catch-up shows from seven to 30 days so you can watch them back at a more convenient time. Hall's new "vision" will also include the launch of "BBC Store" -- an online marketplace that allows you to buy TV shows and keep them forever (if you live in the UK). Currently, TV shows can be downloaded to a number of devices, but are subject to time restrictions.

The broadcaster wants to double its online audience by 2022 -- reaching 500 million users a week by the time it celebrates its centenary. In order to do this, the BBC wants to change the perception of iPlayer as a catch-up service and position it as destination that allows you to curate your own TV viewing schedule. With access to more content before it is on TV, the BBC will provide options to pause and resume viewing on one screen to another, also letting you provide feedback on the shows that you'd like to see more (or less) of. The BBC plans to relaunch iPlayer in the first half of 2014, putting it on a level footing with its traditional TV channels.