The BBC’s video-on-demand app, iPlayer, has gained a lot of ground in the U.K., its home country: It accounts for more than 50 percent of streaming video traffic there, according to recent estimates. But that’s not necessarily a recipe for international success. The BBC announced Friday that it is scrapping plans to expand the iPlayer app globally. Instead, the international app will be integrated into BBC.com (the non-U.K. version of its website).
The BBC began testing an international, paid version of the iPlayer app in 2011, rolling out the trial to 16 European countries (but never the U.S.). In the plan released Friday, however, the BBC said it will focus on video streaming for international viewers from its own website instead:
“The new BBC.com will include a long-form video player and will represent a single digital route to market for BBC.com’s partners and advertisers. As part of this move, the existing trial of the global iPlayer app, currently testing in 16 countries, will not be extended to any new markets, and it is proposed that the service will be integrated into BBC.com over time.”
“It is purely a branding question: If you want content you go to BBC.com,” Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide, told the Guardian. “It has been too fragmented and [globally] it is a ferocious market dominated by U.S. and Asian players – like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon – and we have to have scale and a real competitive edge.”
The BBC’s goal is to double global reach from 250 million users a week to 500 million users a week by 2022.