The BBC says the new service will make its programmes available to download and keep. The corporation has not confirmed prices but reports last week suggested an average £1.89 per show.
The idea, which is codenamed ‘Project Barcelona’, was announced last night by Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, at the Royal Television Show in London.
However, ‘Barcelona’ has met with scepticism by some independent producers who are worried that the arrangement will harm their DVD sales and are unsure of what percentage revenue share they will receive.
It is not clear whether the service would affect the £145.50 annual licence fee – which is currently frozen for the next four years. But Project Barcelona could help the corporation make more money to support itself, as the Government advised when it capped the fee in 2010.
The BBC service is expected to give producers a greater share of the episode download price (around 40p from £1.89) than Apple currently does (28p on the same price).