Director-general wants Netflix-style algorithm for BBC

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

The BBC wants a Netflix-style algorithm for public service broadcasting.

Director-general Lord Tony Hall said he wants to break the echo chamber of suggested content with a new online system.

The BBC boss wants greater information on viewers and their habits in order to fashion a “public service algorithm”.

Director-general Lord Tony Hall has championed a new system (Ben Stansall/PA)

Lord Hall spoke to peers on the House Of Lords Communications Committee about turning iPlayer into a more personalised and algorithm-driven platform.

He said of the BBC audience: “We want to gather more about who they are, and what they think, and what do they like and so on.

“Getting that kind of connection, for example when you go to Netflix.

“That’s where I want to get with iPlayer and Sounds. The data we can get back from that, we can use in a public service algorithm, as opposed to ‘you like that, here’s more of what you want’.

“We need a public service algorithm.

“Here are things we think you should see. In old fashioned TV terms it’s ‘hamocking’.

“We think it’s quite good for you.”

Hamocking is the practice of putting a less popular programme between two more popular shows in the hope of increasing its audience.