BBC Store has closed to new customers and will cease to exist on the 1st of November this year. If you weren’t aware of it, BBC Store offered the opportunity to pay to stream episodes or complete series of programmes from the BBC archives. It was differentiated from BBC iPlayer which only allows you to watch recently broadcast programmes for the next 30 days.
The BBC say that BBC Store (which typically charged £1.89 per episode) has been unable to build sufficient interest citing Amazon Video and Netflix where users can also view much of BBC’s old content.
All users will be fully refunded for their purchases over the past 18 months since BBC Store launched in 2015, with an option of a cash refund or interestingly with a 10% bonus if you choose Amazon Video vouchers instead. The compensation bill hasn’t been revealed, but it’s thought to be over a £1 million.
The BBC is under increasing pressure to generate cash outside the licence fee and BBC Store was intended to be a part of the solution. It does go to show the draw that sites like Amazon and Netflix have created if it means the BBC with their massive archives of much loved classic can’t make money in a streaming video on demand model. If any one has the content surely it must be the BBC?
Amazon will be laughing all the way to the bank, whilst the individual amounts are likely to be relatively small on an individual basis, every customer that signs up to Amazon Video is potentially a customer who may open an Amazon Prime account or if they already have one it will reinforce their customer’s loyalty thanks to the BBC Store failure.