BBC drops global iPlayer plan

TimDavieBBC Worldwide chief Tim Davie has revealed his vision for the corporation’s commercial arm, including a major rethink of its digital strategy. Davie said plans for a global iPlayer app had been scrapped, unveiled plans to roll out its digital store into BBC.com, and announced a £30 million-a-year (€35m) increase in programming investment.

The plan for a new standalone subscription-based iPlayer app for global markets, which was first mooted in 2010 and has been in market testing for two years, is to be dropped. Davie explained BBC Worldwide has too many different websites and digital propositions, and there needed to be more focus to compete against rivals such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. The global iPlayer app will be folded into a revamped BBC.com, which will include a new long-form video player.

“It is purely a branding question: if you want content you go to BBC.com,” he said. “It has been too fragmented and it is a ferocious market dominated by US and Asian players – like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon – and we have to have scale and a real competitive edge.”

Davie said there is a three-year plan to develop BBC.com – part of achieving the vision that director general Tony Hall laid out last week of doubling global reach from 250 million to 500 million a week by 2022 – and added that content payment systems could be tailored to individual markets. He added that the BBC.com site is currently visited by 60 million users.

BBC.com will also include a digital store where international consumers will be able to buy, watch and keep programmes.

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