The BBC is planning a paid for download service, codenamed Project Barcelona, to rival Apple’s iTunes.

According to a report by paidContent the BBC will make its shows available to customers as download-to-own (DTO) for prices around the £1.89 mark. The service hasn't been officially announced.

Project Barcelona is “about making what is effectively seen as non-commercial programming available to the market at a price and ease of use that will encourage consumers to purchase programmes that the commercial market would not make available due to the poor returns and risk involved.”

The firm is in talks with independent producers to negotiate rights. The BBC will supposedly pay producers a bigger share of revenues than iTunes does, around 40p compared to 28p.

Producers apparently support the aims of the scheme, saying it could be good for revenue and prevent piracy. However, no deal has been made yet over various issues including revenue share, exclusivity and the potential to hurt DVD sales.

The BBC said: "In addition to BBC iPlayer, the BBC already makes some of its content available on a download-to-own (DTO) basis."

"Any proposal to extend this facility would require not just the support of the industry but formal approval by the BBC executive and the BBC Trust."

If the move goes ahead it will represent a big change for the BBC. It already offers its radio and TV shows for free via its iPlayer service.