The BBC’s Shakespeare archive is to be digitised and made available for free to schools across the country, under plans unveiled by new director general Tony Hall today.
Hall, outlining his vision for the BBC, also announced a new version of the iPlayer, which will allow users to access programmes for up to 30 days after their initial broadcasts and even watch shows before they have been transmitted on TV. The BBC said this would allow viewers to “create their own evening schedule”.
The new iPlayer will also feature exclusive content and channels dedicated to specific genres, such as the arts.
The Corporation said this would see the iPlayer move to become “the BBC’s primary digital entertainment destination”.
Hall said: “The new generation of BBC iPlayer is set to transform our relationship with audiences. In coming years, for many people BBC iPlayer is going to be the front door to our programming and the experience they have is going to be a world away from that of a traditional ‘one to many’ broadcaster.”
Hall also revealed that “enhanced interactivity” would allow users to tell the BBC what they think about programmes.
Speaking today, the director general also said the BBC’s Shakespeare archive would be digitised to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death in 2016. It will be made available, for free, to “those in education and learning”.
Hall also revealed plans for a BBC Store, which will offer people the chance to buy, watch and keep a selection of BBC programmes, and for a BBC1 +1 channel.
“BBC1 needs to be on top form. It has to be the nation’s favourite channel, but also its bravest. We’ll also look to launch a BBC +1 channel – it’s what audiences expect, especially younger ones, and it means people can get more of what they’ve already paid for.”
Hall said he wanted the BBC to have a “closer relationship with audiences”.
“We should be treating them like owners, not just as licence-fee payers. People should not be saying ‘the BBC’, but ‘my BBC’ or ‘our BBC’.”
Yesterday, the BBC also announced plans to increase its arts budget by 20%.