One of the most streamlined video streaming services ABC iview is set to get a little more complicated, with the ABC announcing you’ll soon need an account to view their shows.

The announcement on the ABC website by editorial director Craig McMurtrie lays out the upcoming change including the reasoning behind it, which seems chiefly driven by improving user experience. 

Creating a user account will become mandatory from July 2021, and will allow the ABC to let users resume watching a show across devices, as well as let you access your viewing history and save your favourite shows for faster access. The ABC will also be able to tailor recommendations for each user based on their preferences which will show up in their dashboard. 

In order to achieve all this Mr McMurtrie says that the ABC will ask for details including an ‘email, first name (or pseudonym), year of birth, suburb or postcode, and gender’, with the gender option giving users the chance to select “prefer not to say”.

Building a profile of preferences obviously begs the question ‘What about advertising’? The ABC editorial policy appears to cover this, advising that they are unable to ‘accept advertisements or commercial sponsorships for its domestic television and domestic and international radio services’ with restrictions being added in 2013 to cover their digital services. 

The data you provide to the ABC for your iview account will be covered by the Privacy Act and follows the Australian Privacy Principles says Head of digital product Joel Brydon. Mr Brudon also confirmed that the ‘ABC will never sell the data’, and that there is no paid advertising on ABC platforms in Australia – so rest assured you’ll only have to sit through charming ads for the latest eps of Bluey or other ABC content before your show starts playing.

Anyone wanting to keep their data even more private will be able to opt out of sharing their data with third parties – which the ABC says can include Facebook and Google. 

Overall it’s not a bad idea. I’ve got accounts for all the other Free-to-Air channels and often get alerts for shows I love when they arrive, so getting the same service for the ABC is a pretty great idea.