BBC television productions are to be broadcast online before reaching TV screens under a new trial as the corporation attempts to rival web services like Netflix.

The decision, confirmed at a meeting of trustees in December, marks the first time that BBC programmes will be released on iPlayer ahead of scheduled TV broadcasts.

BBC bosses have previously experimented with “online-only” video content and last year decided to commission a series of BBC Three comedy Impractical Jokers for television after the pilot had been shown on the BBC website.

The 12-month trial will allow up to 40 hours of broadcasting across a range of genres to be put online before reaching TV screens this year, according to minutes of a meeting published yesterday.

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