Good news for people desperate to use the BBC iPlayer outside the UK – that might soon be possible. The bad news? It won’t be free.
When we recently published the Top 5 Frustratingly Region Locked Web Services, it was surprising to see just how many readers left comments expressing their frustration that the BBC’s TV catchup service isn’t available outside the UK.
Now PaidContent has learned that BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, is soon to launch a Video On Demand service, possibly using the iPlayer name.
The service will be available around the world but don’t get your hopes up that you’ll streaming EastEnders from Tahiti for free any time soon.
The service won’t be offering a catchup service for current UK shows. Instead it will contain recent material from the BBC’s international channels such as BBC America, premium content such as Top Gear and Doctor Who and some “deep archive” (read: really old) material.
Don’t expect to get this all gratis – this will be a paid service and BBC Worldwide may charge prices higher than iTunes does for TV shows as they believe demand is sufficient. Why not offer the shows for free, supported by ads? It’s down to a combination of the ad market hardly being in a strong position right now and the fact that many shows, such as those on BBC America, are only licensed for paid access online.
The global iPlayer service is currently awaiting approval by the BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body.
Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide is also planning mobile apps for BBC News and BBC Sport, with a cost attached for users outside the UK.