Following comments made earlier in the year by BBC Director General Mark Thompson that an international version of the iPlayer app would be made available later in 2011 for “a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer than ten”, BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, has confirmed that it is now offering audiences across Europe the first-ever opportunity to access a digital mix of classic and contemporary British TV programming with the launch of the new global BBC iPlayer app.
The video on demand subscription service, launching first in Western Europe, will deliver a range of BBC programming to viewers in 11 markets. For €6.99 a month (or €49.99 for an annual subscription), the app will initially be available in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
Subscribers will be able to access a rich selection of English language programmes across eight genres: News Specials & Documentaries; Entertainment; Drama; Comedy; Science & Nature; Family & Kids; Music & Culture and Lifestyle. The app brings together classic comedies such as Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses, drama series Sherlock, Luther and Pride and Prejudice, recent episodes of the UK’s famous soap EastEnders, global motoring phenomenon Top Gear, the Doctor Who archive and children’s show Charlie & Lola.
Hours of new programming will be added to the service every week, along with themed collections curated from the BBC’s extensive archive, including David Attenborough and the story of the Royal Family.
Designed to be intuitive and easy-to-use, a key feature of the app allows subscribers both to stream and to download shows for offline viewing for when they can’t access Wi-Fi connectivity. The simple interface enables users to build a personal library of shows.
John Smith CEO BBC Worldwide said he was proud that the BBC was one of the first international broadcasters to give access to its shows in a packaged app. “This launch is an important route to market in our strategy of pursuing multiple platforms for our programmes and brands, taking British programmes to new digital audiences around the world. Today marks a significant next step on a digital journey that has already seen 12 million BBC Worldwide apps downloaded across brands as diverse as Lonely Planet and Good Food,” he added.
“Based on the soaring success of the UK’s pioneering BBC iPlayer service, the app combines technical innovation with editorial creativity to transport users to the heart of the BBC and British television and on a journey of discovery, wherever and whenever they want,” commented Jana Bennett, BBC Worldwide President of Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer “We have an exciting vision for what this service could become and will develop it based on feedback from within the markets.”
The launch of the global version of the BBC iPlayer app marks the start of a pilot phase for the service.
The global BBC iPlayer App is now available to download for free from the App Store in the launch markets on iPad at www.bbc.com/iplayer/tv.