Big changes coming to ABC iView, including next-gen console apps and iTunes-powered back-catalogue access

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Despite government funding threats, the ABC has still presented an interesting 2015 launch earlier in the week, one which also detailed some expansion plans for their catch-up service.

Next year iView will be launching on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s still not known whether the PS4 app will just be another web browser link, like it was on the PlayStation 3, though hopefully they actually build a native PS4 interface. Though, as seen with the Xbox 360, the service will certainly come in the form of a native app on the Xbox One.

On top of this news, Director of Television for the ABC, Richard Finlayson, has detailed plans to for the ABC to introduce a premium back-catalogue service, which will be heavily integrated into Apple’s iTunes platform. Speaking to Mumbrella, Finlayson told the blog that “in an Australian TV industry first in the first quarter of next year Australian users will have the ability to buy and download current series of ABC classics without leaving the iView application.”

Whether this means the ABC has somehow coordinated some sort of TV store with iTunes, or whether this just means that they’ll have some sort of affiliate-link system with iTunes is still not known, though he did say that it would involve “frictionless embedding of iTunes within the iView environment”.

In response to criticisms of the ABC competing with commercial networks, Finlayson was quick to point out that the new premium system “enables us to return more proceeds to producers and ultimately to create more Australian content.” It’ll be interesting to see how this integration works, and to see whether the ABC has genuinely partnered with iTunes, or whether they’re just going to link to the Apple app.