BBC iPlayer hits iPads in Canada, offers free content each day ’til Christmas

BBC iPlayer hits iPads in Canada, offers free content each day ’til Christmas

BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, has announced that the global BBC iPlayer app will be available in Canada from today, making it the sixteenth territory added to its pilot launch.

The global iPlayer app was launched in 11 Western European countries initially back in July, and the service has been gradually rolled out further afield since then, including Australia in September and across Scandinavia a month later. It’s now available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

The global BBC iPlayer App is a Video-on-Demand (VoD) pilot subscription service available via an iPad app only at present, and it differs from the UK version of iPlayer in that it gives international users access to an extensive archive of classic and contemporary British TV programmes. The UK iPlayer service is more geared towards catch-up TV, with a 30-day window to watch following the initial broadcast.

The global iPlayer app is a subscription-only service, costing CAD$8.99 a month, or $84.99 for an annual subscription, in Canada. This compares with €6.99 a month (€64.99 a year) in Europe, and AUD$9.49 a month ($89.99 a year) in Australia. Viewers will be able to sample a small amount of content for free before committing to a subscription.

“We’re proud to be building on the successful launch of this App by introducing it to Canada”, says Jana Bennett, BBC Worldwide President of Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer. “It will open up the opportunity for a whole new audience to enjoy the best moments from seventy years of brilliant BBC programmes, wherever and whenever they want.”

So what kind of TV shows can Canadians access from today? Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous and Only Fools & Horses for starters, as well as more modern sitcoms and sketch-shows such as Gavin and Stacey and Little Britain. In addition, you’ll also get the likes of Whitechapel, Spooks, Pride and Prejudice, Top Gear, Doctor Who, Blue Planet and Horizon.

BBC Worldwide has also announced that from today, anyone who downloads the global iPlayer app will be able to access an episode every day until Christmas Day, for free, and without having to sign up to a subscription.

The free content includes Christmas specials from shows such as Only Fools and Horses and Absolutely Fabulous, plus 12 Days of Gavin and Stacey, Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef – The Christmas Party, and Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. This will depend on the availability of each programme in your country. To access this free content on your iPad, you have to download the app and visit the BBC App Store.

The move into North America is a big step for BBC Worldwide, but there’s still no word on when it will hit the US market. Though it’s probably safe to say it’s testing the water around the world before hitting the States, which could prove to be a very lucrative market for the VoD service.

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