BBC has plans to launch their global version of the iPlayer as a subscription-based app for the iPad.
According to a report by the Financial Times, quoting Luke Bradley-Jones, managing director of BBC.com, as saying that the network plans to expand its UK-only iPlayer platform “to initially launch just on the iPad platform, as it provides such potential to develop a truly interactive video-on-demand service, and also maps pretty nicely on to our core target audience for the service.”
BBC is working to offer paid subscription access to its content in foreign markets, with the US being one of its first targets
An international iPlayer platform, paid for by either subscription or through advertising, has been promised in 2011 by BBC Worldwide for months as a way to grow revenue for the network in the wake of licence fee freezes in the UK. Bradley-Jones said in the report that they eventually hope offer subscription access, digital downloads, and pay per view offerings, as well as advertising for free content.
The current licence fee in the UK is the equivalent to $227, which is a price that the BBC would hope to spread out for US users via subscription. But if you see the initial investment to even getting that subscription in spending at least $600 for an iPad, will there be enough takers to pay for the development, much less develop a real profit for the BBC?
Part of the BBC’s motivation to reach markets outside of the UK stems from limitations it has agreed to make at the behest of competing commercial rivals in broadcasting and publishing. Among other restrictions, the BBC has agreed to not expand into magazine publishing, local journalism, and the online market, and has frozen the TV license fee for UK households.
There have been so many people asking for and begging to pay for an international iPlayer, so it’s great to know it’s on its way.