updated 03:05 pm EDT, Fri October 23, 2009
BBC considering launching international iPlayer
BBC Worldwide, the parent company of BBC, is considering launching a premium version of its iPlayer online service that would be accessible by global audiences. Such a service would allow viewers from outside of the UK to watch popular BBC programs, such as Top Gear and Torchwood as well as listen to streaming BBC radio stations. BBC executives have yet to commit to pricing but suggest they could charge per episode, potentially as high as $10 depending on the content.
Other than current shows, the global iPlayer would also contain catalog material that includes historical material from the BBC's archives. The domestic iPlayer's content wouldn't be shown because of international rights clearances, however. Content from other UK broadcasters, such as Channel 4, may also be hosted on the global iPlayer.
Many of the viewers are expected to come from the US, as 20 million of the 50 million registered BBC.com users are registered from the country.
Currently, the local BBC iPlayer acts as a replay service for UK viewers watch shows that aired on cable TV up to a week earlier. The BBC was bombarded with some 500 million requests to view BBC television shows since iPlayer first launched in 2007.
BBC Worldwide is also mulling a mobile service, where users are more used to paying for the content. Shows streamed to mobile devices would likely cost around $2 and become available sometime during the next few months. [via Telegraph]