BBC To Offer Downloads, Aussies Unlikely To Score

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.

While there's no launch timetable, BBC director general Mark Thompson has said the UK national broadcaster is working on a plan, codenamed 'Project Barcelona', to offer downloads following broadcast. "It's the exact analogy of going into a high-street shop to buy a DVD or, before that, a VHS cassette."

However, while we've always been able to do that in Australia (albeit often on a different schedule), the download service is likely to be UK-only. As Thompson put it:

Our ambition would ultimately be to let everyone who pays the licence fee access all of our programmes on this basis and, over time, to load more and more of our archive into the window.

Because overseas viewers don't pay the licence fee (used in the UK to fund the national broadcaster, a model Australia abandoned decades ago), it seems highly unlikely they'd get access to this service. It's the same reason we can't use the browser-based BBC iPlayer unless we mess around with VPNs.

Ultimately, the BBC might offer digital sales (it already sells through iTunes, for instance), but this doesn't look like an immediate solution for those of us who would be happy to pay for legal copies of UK shows. With the existing paid iPlayer app a big success in Australia, let's hope they fast-track

BBC boss confirms TV download pay service [The Guardian]


    In the meantime, we'll all just keep torrenting.

    I stick to simplicity and waste less time, by pretty much using a proxy IP, and its worked...

    Australia abandoned the licence fee "decades ago" with the result that Aussies are now abandoning FTA TV in droves and scratching around trying to source quality TV from overseas. Seems to me that abandoning the licence fee model was a huge mistake and we are now paying the price by being subjected to TV which, to be honest, is nothing but garbage. Can the powers be realise that they're losing this particular battle?

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