The BBC will submit proposals for a paid-for TV download service to the Trust this year, it has revealed.

Director general Mark Thompson confirmed plans for Project Barcelona at an RTS lecture this evening.

As well as hosting older BBC content, Thompson explained current plans were for viewers to be able to download and keep digital copies of programmes shortly after they have been broadcast on TV, for a small sum.

He also confirmed the deal would be non-exclusive, allowing producers to continue selling through third parties such as iTunes.

“But the important point is that the window would be open-ended - in other words, the programme would be available permanently,” he said.

Although it is viewed as an extension, or modernisation, of the existing DVD business, more programmes will be available for sale than previously, opening up the long tail to a wider base of producers.

“If Barcelona gains the support of the UK’s producers, and of course approval from the Trust, it potentially adds an important new source of revenue for producers and rights holders - and represents a potential new way of supporting UK production.” Thompson added.

“It could also mark an important step in broadcast’s journey from being a transitory medium into a growing body of outstanding and valuable content, which is always available to enjoy, and which persists forever.”

This article was first published in Broadcast