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BBC iPlayer reaches global availability

by Hugo Jobling on 28 July 2011, 13:15

Tags: BBC

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Streaming along

The BBC has come good on its promise to bring the iPlayer to regions outside the UK, with a launch in 11 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Unlike the UK iPlayer, the foreign service is not free - as only domestic BBC viewers pay a license fee - but rather will be supported by subscriptions, although a limited number of programmes will be available free of charge. The subscription is available at either €6.99 (£6.14) a month or €49.99 (£44) a year (an almost one-third saving). BBC Worldwide (the BBC's commercial arm) hopes that income from subscription fees will supplement the license fee it receives in the UK.

The international iPlayer app has a notable feature lacking from the UK version - the ability to download programmes for later viewing. Where in the UK the iPlayer is pitched as a catch-up service, intended to supplement broadcast television, in Europe - and eventually elsewhere - the iPlayer is intended as a video-on-demand service, much like Hulu or Netflix, and will showcase older programmes, such as Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses, in addition to newer shows such as Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Interestingly, although providing them to foreign iPlayer users, the BBC has no plans to make its archive footage available via the iPlayer in the UK. It seems likely that such an offering would be popular, even if the same subscription fee was imposed for non-catch-up programmes, so the limitation is almost certainly a litigious one. UK iPlayer users may also question why they are denied access to downloading shows for later viewing using the app - especially when that feature is present on the desktop version of the iPlayer.

HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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You kinda skimmed over the bit where it's only for iPad users. What kind of stupid retarded crap is that?
I hope they have to pay their license fee to use it!!

But no, they get to pay for only what they want to watch….I just hope the money goes to good use, although I guess the beeb did have a bit of a clearout a while ao.
No non-UK users don't have to pay the license fee, but then they don't get the same service that UK TV viewers get. iPlayer users don't need to pay for broadcast equipment and not all shows are available on iPlayer. I guess if you had two iPads in a house you would need to pay €7 for each. I can have as many TVs in my house as I like and still only pay the same license fee.

This is another revenue stream for the BBC, which should help to pay for the running of the organisation meaning either less cuts, more investment or less license fee increases.
So I pay my license fee then when I go abroad, which I do frequently, I have to pay again?
No thanks.
(Not that it costs much, but it's the principal)
Well hopefully we'll see a way you could enter your TV license number (or something like that) to let you use iPlayer over seas.

It is a bit of an edge case though.