Since it launched in late 2007, the BBC iPlayer has been hugely successful. While the service is now available on a wide range of devices from phones to games consoles, it has only ever been open to those in the UK. However, that might all be about to change.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the Beeb's Director-General Mark Thompson told attendees that an international version of the iPlayer is set to roll-out within the year. Unlike the domestic service, the worldwide variant will be a commercial venture. However, Thompson did not go into detail whether it would be a ‘pay-for' service, supported by advertising or something completely different.
He also outlined plans to let "UK licence fee payers and servicemen and women use the UK iPlayer wherever they are in the world," though offered no further information on how this might be achieved.
Obviously, commercial services from the Corporation are nothing new. The Trust has come under scrutiny over the years regarding the activities - and profits - of BBC Worldwide, its international licensing and production division.
If the success of the iPlayer was replicated with a commercial version abroad, the profits could be significant. Of course, these would then be fed back into the Corporation's coffers, which would clearly benefit the license-fee-paying public in the UK.
Do you think that the BBC should expand the scope of the iPlayer, or focus on the domestic market that the Corporation was set-up to serve? Let us know in the HEXUS.community.