Last week we heard that the BBC was planning to take on the likes of iTunes with its own digital download service. The report said that the Beeb is unhappy with how little of its archive is available through services like iTunes Store and Blinkbox and the broadcaster wanted to come up with a BBC-branded way to provide digital access to all of its content. The project in question is apparently named Project Barcelona and would offer downloads of shows for £1.89.
Today, this rumor was confirmed by BBC director general Mark Thompson. The Guardian reports that Thompson confirmed the reports that the BBC was working on a service that would allow viewers to "purchase a digital copy of a programme to own and keep [for] a relatively modest charge." Thompson didn't provide much else in the way of details regarding the service, but he did address concerns that viewers who already pay an annual licencing fee would be none too pleased to be asked to pay for that same content a second time.
"For decades the British public has understood the distinction between watching Dad's Army on BBC1 and then going out to buy a permanent copy of it. Barcelona is the digital equivalent of doing the second," he said.
No timetable was given for the service. Thompson said he wasn't ready to talk about a roadmap just yet, but when he was, the BBC Trust and the people at the BBC would be the first to know. We also haven't heard anything about DRM which will be key for most people looking to use the service. We'll keep you posted.