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BBC to launch global, paid iPlayer?

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 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]

By Electronista Staff


  1. karmatose

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007



    I'd totally pay for this.

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004



    I'd pay for a subscription service, or perhaps as much as $2/episode, but
    I can't imagine any BBC content that would be worth $10/episode.

  1. b9robot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2009


    The player doesn't play any content

    The player doesn't play any content, why would you want to pay for it.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999



    $10 for the privilege of only being able to watch on my computer? If I could download the shows in standard H.264 format, be able to play them on my AppleTV, iPhone, PS3, or any other device I want, and keep them permanently, then MAYBE it could be worth as much as $2 per episode. $10 to merely stream something to my small screen computer is ridiculously unappealing. I think I'll stick to pirating any BBC content that might interest me; at least I'll keep the freedom to actually use the content in a practical manner.

  1. keithmaniac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2008


    No Idea

    This astonishes me. The idea of having access to BBC shows is something, as an expat of about 20 years, that I have dreamed about. So when I saw the headline, I was very excited. But the idea that anyone would pay $10 per episode, the price to see a new movie on a big screen, shows these executives are completely out of touch with reality. If they offered it as a subscription, akin to subscribing to a premium cable channel, for a similar amount of money ($20 a month let's say), then I think a lot of people would sign up. The expat community in the LA alone is said to be close to a million people. As it is, hardly anyone will be able or want to afford this and the BBC will have missed a great opportunity. Give the consumers what they want and make it easy for them. Micro-transactions are one thing, but paying multiple dollars per episode just doesn't make sense, generally we only want to watch a show once, and if it turns out to be a classic, well, we'll buy the DVD, which price wise is still a world away from $10 an episode. Unbelievable.

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