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BBC considering ‘paid-for digital service’

Would include programmes from the corporation's archive

BBC director general Tony Hall has revealed the corporation is considering launching a paid-for digital service.

The service would allow viewers to watch shows from the BBC’s archive.

Hall outlined the idea to MPs in response to questions about whether young people are deserting traditional linear television for on-demand digital services.

Asked if the BBC was facing a demographic “time bomb” Hall said: “We are looking at ways… to allow people to access the back catalogue [in a way] that costs something because you pay for that access.

“The charter agreement allows us to experiment with those sort of services. At the moment the way to access programmes like Dad’s Army or EastEnders is through UKTV and we need to look at ways of doing what we do there, through UK TV linear services, into an on-demand environment.”

Hall said if the new service does launch, it will probably be available via the iPlayer, which he wants to become “the place you go for your complete experience with the BBC”.

He also revealed the BBC is planning to revamp Radio iPlayer next year, describing it as “old fashioned”. 

“The Radio Player to my mind… feels rather old fashioned,” he said. “I think we have the best radio in the world but it’s sometimes hard to find.”