Nine months after BBC Worldwide launched its global iPlayer app to 11 Western European countries on iPad, the commercial arm of the UK broadcaster has announced that the first ever sporting event has been made available to customers around the world.
The Global iPlayer app is a video-on-demand (VoD) pilot subscription service that 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 restricted window to watch following the initial broadcast.
Following the initial roll-out in many parts of Europe, we later reported that the Global iPlayer app was launching in Canada, making it the sixteenth territory added to its pilot launch following Australia in September and Scandinavia in October. Oh, and it eventually arrived for iPhone and iPod Touch users too, just in time for Christmas.
However, one of the glaring omissions from the global iPlayer’s arsenal of programming was sport, something which is set to change now that it has secured the Xchanging Boat Race, the long-standing contest between England’s Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
The 2012 event was one of the most remarkable race’s in recent memory, with a protestor halting the race shortly after it started. Now, Global iPlayer subscribers in Australia, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg, can watch the race.
“It’s always been our ambition to expand the selection of programme genres on the pilot of the global BBC iPlayer, and I’m thrilled to confirm sport as the latest one,” says Jana Bennett, President Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer. “We’re keen to make Global iPlayer the home to some of the very best British sporting moments.”
So you may not be all that interested in the Oxford/Cambridge boat race (this year’s is a goodie though…), but it seems we’ll start seeing a slew of of UK sporting events hit the Global iPlayer moving forward. Match of the Day? That would be sweet, but given the rights aren’t held by the BBC itself, it would likely find it difficult to broadcast English Premier League highlights internationally.