BBC iPlayer Goes International On iPad


Viewers outside the UK can pay to download BBC content on their iPads as iPlayer goes global

The BBC has launched an international version of its popular iPlayer media streaming service, which will allow viewers outside the UK to pay a subscription to watch a selection of its programmes on their iPads.

The service from Auntie’s commercial division, BBC Worldwide, will be available in 11 European countries, and spread to the US, Australia and Canada in a few months. In the Europe, it will cost €6.99 per month (£6.14), or €49.99 (£44) for an annual subscription.

Download ability

The service is billed as a “video on demand” service, not a “catch-up” service, meaning it will include a selection of new and classic BBC content, curated by editors around themes.

“There is at least 1,500 hours of content there from day one,” said the launch director Mark Smith, adding that it would grow by about 100 hours per month.

As well as streaming programmes, the service also allows users to download material to watch later. Some reports – including the BBC’s own – say this feature is not available in the domestic version, but there appeared to be a download option clearly available when eWEEK Europe looked at the domestic  iPlayer site (see image). We’ve asked the BBC to clarify.

The countries now able to get BBC iPlayer programmes are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, UK viewers have the prospect of a video-on-demand service based on iplayer, instigated by the BBC and involving other partners,  running on set-top boxes from next year. However,  the YouView project has suffered delays since its formal launch in September 2010, and continues to struggle despite the arrival of new chairman Lord Alan Sugar ,

Makers of TV sets and DVD/Blu-ray players have been reluctant to integrate the YouView viewer into their products alongisde their own viewers. Sony recently said that YouView is too UK-specific.



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