The BBC’s iPlayer iOS app is a nifty (and legal) way for people outside the UK to access and download popular BBC content. However, it looks like plans for that service to expand to Android and potentially offer live content have been put to one side, with the BBC now planning to focus on a series of premium pay TV channels and streaming subscription content through its BBC.com portal. For Aussie viewers, that means your main legal option is likely to be (gulp) a Foxtel subscription.
One of the common complaints about the otherwise excellent BBC iPlayer app is that you can’t access recently-broadcast TV shows. The BBC has outlined plans to offer a download service which would allow viewers to pay to download copies of shows minutes after they first air, but while that sounds promising, Australians are unlikely to benefit.
We are in no way surprised: the most popular program amongst Aussie users of the BBC’s iPad/iPhone iPlayer app is Doctor Who. More surprising? Australia is the biggest global market for the app, which is now available in 16 countries.
Having launched in Europe in late July, Australia has today become the second region in the world to get access to the official BBC iPlayer iPad app. The app itself is free, and includes access to ten hours or so of sample content: for ongoing access to the full range of iPlayer content, you need to pay either $9.49 a month or $89.99 a year.
The BBC has been promising an international, paid-for version of its iPlayer TV catchup service for some time now. It has taken the first steps in that direction with an iPad app, but right now it’s still a Europe-only proposition.