BBC iPlayer offers shows from ITV and other broadcasters

Catch-up TV service links back to offerings from rival broadcasters

The BBC iPlayer is now offering web users the chance to watch TV shows broadcast on rival channels including ITV and Five.

By clicking the 'Catch up on ITV, 4, Five and more' link on the bottom left-hand side of the iPlayer home page, web users can browse the schedules of other broadcasters and select a programme to watch. This links through to the broadcaster's own online catch-up service, where the show begins to play.

Alternatively, users can search for specific programmes from rival broadcasters, using the catch-up TV service's search function. At present, Channel 4 shows are now listed in the schedule on the left-hand side due to "technical issues" although the BBC hopes this will be rectified soon. Instead, users will have to search for the Channel 4 shows they want to watch.

"It's been a while in the making, but this has been an extremely ambitious and technically complicated project. We wanted to get to a user-experience that feels intuitive and not "bolted on", even though the experience is as much reliant on the data feeds from our partners as our own engineering," Paul Clark, head of Audience-Facing Services at BBC Future Media and Technology's Programmes and On Demand department, said in a blog.

"We think BBC Online should serve as a hub to support other UK sites and want to double the traffic we send externally. Already the BBC News product is one of the top five sites driving referrals to UK newspapers, adding value to the UK online economy and our audiences: this partnership is a good example of how the BBC iPlayer can follow in those footsteps."

See also: BBC iPlayer iPad app 'to launch Thursday'

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

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