BBC iPlayer sign in required from 2017
All users of BBC iPlayer will be required to log in with a password, in order to watch and listen to BBC programmes online, from early next year.
The BBC will require viewers to give their postcode as part of the log-in process.
The information harvested potentially allows the BBC to identify anyone using the iPlayer without a licence, by cross-referencing names with the TV Licensing database. Currently the BBC does not use data shared with TV Licensing for enforcement.
Anyone who wants to catch-up or watch or listen to a programme live will need to be signed in using a BBC ID from 2017 in what is being seen as a further layer of enforcement following the closure of the iPlayer loophole, that previously allowed non-licence fee payers to access content from the service.
Currently, the use of a BBC ID to access BBC online content is voluntary.
The BBC expects to introduce a mandatory sign in for everyone who accesses the iPlayer and some of its mobile apps from next February.
The new sign-in system, required for every tablet, PC or mobile device on which a BBC service is accessed, will be more robust and secure than the current one, the BBC said.
The BBC said the compulsory sign-in would allow it to make its content and services more personalised and tailored to individual viewers and listeners.
In a further change, from now on, all holders of a BBC ID account will need to add their postcode to their profile. TV licensing will have access to the information, but it won’t initially be used to target licence fee evaders, according to the BBC.
The BBC says there are currently 7 million BBC ID accounts in use at the present time. From today, the seven million people who have previously registered for BBC services such as the iPlayer and iPlayer Radio app, will be asked to log out and sign in again, this time giving their postcode as additional information.