Doctor Who Getting Early Online Debut in Australia, Thanks to iView

Good news for online Australian sci-fi fans: The upcoming fifth season of British Doctor Who, which will premiere Sunday, April 18 on ABC1, will actually make its first Down Under appearance two days earlier on iView, the Australian Broadcasting Company’s iPlayer equivalent.

The one-day head start that online Aussie fans are getting probably won’t do much in the way of preventing piracy, as episodes will premiere in Australia two weeks after the UK (in the United States, BBC America will be on a similar schedule). It’s a much improved delay, though, from the past, when fans outside Britain would wait for months after the UK premiere for their fix — or learn how to use torrents.

But fighting piracy, or creating a buzz for the show, doesn’t seem to be the goal here: as opposed to Warner Bros and ITV’s decision to release episodes of The Vampire Diaries ahead of their British airing, it appears that the purpose of debuting Doctor Who online early is to get Australians using the free video service.

According to Kim Dalton, director of Television at the ABC, “iView is a fantastic offering, an additional way for Australian audiences to watch ABC TV’s content — generally after, but in this special case before, its television broadcast. We hope the lure of Doctor Who — and what a fun and exciting lure it is — will provide incentive for more viewers to discover iView, and experience how convenient and easy to use it is.”

iView first became available in July 2008, and is available on the PS3 through the Playstation Network. So, hey, f you’re reading this and you’re in Australia, we’d love to find out whether you’ve used the iView service, and what you think of it, in the comments!

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