BBC iPlayer To Be Made Available For Worldwide Users

BBC iPlayer To Be Made Available For Worldwide Users

The BBC’s iPlayer is an awesome catch-up TV service, but it’s blocked for access outside of the UK. There are complex proxy tricks you can use to get it, but a simpler solution is on the cards: the BBC is contemplating an international edition of the service.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the BBC Trust has approved the concept, though there’s no fixed launch date yet, and no indication of whether the service will be ad-funded or require a subscription. The BBC is funded by a compulsory licence fee for all UK TV-owning residents, so it’s not feasible for the service to simply be made available without charge. The BBC News site features online ads for non-UK residents, but given the higher costs involved with delivering video, I’m guessing a subscription is the more likely option. Even then, there’s a tricky balancing act in not losing revenue from selling shows overseas if networks figure everyone interested will watch them online instead. Eagerly awaiting more details on this one.

What model would you like to see adopted for an international iPlayer? Share your thoughts in the comments.

BBC aims to gain from global iPlayer [Daily Telegraph via Engadget via TV Tonight]


  • A paid subscription model for HD content or ad free would work only if there was an ad supported free streaming as well to back it up. I think that would be enough to modify behaviour away from Channel BT or Usenet.

    • I think it might get some people away from torrents, but the majority it wouldnt. The thing is, people who torrent TV shows are generally torrenting them because they dont come out for a few months, and with online sites it normally takes 24-48 hrs for it to come online, and thats depending on show. Torrents for shows are up within 3 hrs, meaning they can get it well before it comes online. In an age where everyone wants everything now, they will stick to torrents.

      However, I think a small subscription fee system would work PERFECTLY. I have a cousin from Scotland and family members who lived in the UK for many years, they would love more than anything to be able to access the iPlayer but cant. A small subscription fee would work perfectly for them.

      • iPlayer’s pretty good at getting shows up quickly actually. I would say 99% shows are up by midnight on the night they were shown. Even live events like Formula 1 can be up within a couple of hours.

  • As a channel BT lover I would welcome something like this. Hulu would be a cool addition too.

    The annoyance from everyone here in Australia is that the networks, more often than not mess around with the programs.

    Moving the broadcast date and timeslot, editing and cutting bits Channel 9 and Topgear UK, Spartacus is another show they totally destroyed with editing despite its late night timeslot.

    Worst of all the networks cut series midway through leaving people in the lurch.

  • Well it’s about bloody time! So many great BBC tv series come out every week, of which more than half you will never get to see in Australia, or maybe you will but after 3 or 4 years or something.

    I used to pay that ridiculous tv license a few years ago when I was living there.
    Get this: a 158 pounds ($255 AU) just to
    OWN a color tv.

    But rest assured: If you have black & white TV,
    it’s only 75 pounds. 😉

  • The license fee model is nearing its end – as the BBC share of hours declines. Between 1998 and 2004 the cost per viewing hour of bbc programming increased by 75%.
    Meanwhile, pretty clearly, the world is rolling towards broadband delivered tv on demand.
    There need be no national boundaries to this service – so it seems likely that there will be a small number of global tv content providers which will establish worldwide subscritpion services.
    The BBC, alongside HBO, would seem to be in pole position to be one of the few – and I suspect the international roll out of iplayer, under a subscription model, is the start of that transformation.

  • At present people outside the UK cannot access the BBC iPlayer. As an iPlayer user inside the UK you should count yourselves very, very lucky!

    Do you really want access to broken software that unexpectedly deletes programmes you’ve downloaded before they are due to expire?

    Do you really want access to broken software that fails to remove programs from your hard disk when you delete them? (I’ve seen reports of people finding 20-40GB of iPlayer files that should have been deleted).

    The iPlayer message boards are full of complaints and we’re getting very little feedback from the BBC about when we will see them addressed.

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