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article imageBBC iPlayer set to go global

By Mathew Wace Peck     Nov 16, 2010 in Entertainment
People living outside the UK could soon be able to access the BBC’s popular on-demand Internet TV service, as plans for Global iPlayer are stepped up.
Approval for the service has recently been received from the BBC’s governing body, BBC Trust, thus paving the way for the launch of iPlayer world wide.
At present, BBC iPlayer can only be accessed from within the UK, but a global version would change all that. Whether living outside the UK, or just on holiday, people would be able to catch up on a range of episodes, such as EastEnders, Pobol y Cwm and Doctor Who.
Luke Bradley-Jones, Managing Director, BBC Global iPlayer, told
Our research has shown there is an international audience of British TV fans that are frequently watching TV online – and we are excited about rolling out our iPlayer video-on-demand service to meet and grow this demand.
Meanwhile, John Smith, Chief Executive, BBC Worldwide, said that it would allow overseas fans of shows such as Doctor Who, Top Gear, EastEnders or The Apprentice to “get their fix legitimately”, rather than resorting to downloading programmes illegally.
Currently, BBC iPlayer is funded by British taxpayers, through the TV licence fee. However, because overseas viewers are not subject to the TV licence fee, the international version of the iPlayer will need to be funded differently, either through the introduction of advertising on to iPlayer itself, or by charging viewers to use the service.
Record figures
Since its introduction into the UK, in 2007, the BBC’s iPlayer has been highly successful, with requests for programmes through the service increasing rapidly. Its popularity has led to the introduction of similar services by ITV (itvplayer) and Channel 4 (4oD), respectively.
By the time of its second birthday in December 2009, iPlayer had received more than 100-million requests. With 1.6 million views, Top Gear was the most watched programme on iPlayer of 2009. On New Year’s Day 2010, David Tennant’s final appearance as the tenth Doctor in Part Two of Doctor Who: The End of Time received 1.3 million requests following its week of broadcast on BBC One.
Almost as many requests – 1.27 million – were made in just one week, in April, for Matt Smith’s first Doctor Who story, The Eleventh Hour, with his first four episodes garnering a staggering 5.2 million between them by mid-May.
The service reaches its third birthday on Christmas Day.
More about BBC, Iplayer, Doctor Who, Top gear, Global iplayer
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