Mark Thompson had set an August deadline, and now BBC Worldwide has finally released its global version of the iPlayer catch-up TV service.
Available on iPad only, it is released only in western Europe (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland) and costs €6.99 per month or €49.99 per year.
It’s clear that BBC Worldwide still hasn’t got its ducks in line to launch iPlayer in the market it really wants to – the States – where subscription sales could be significantly more.
The global iPlayer (sponsored by “Britain, you’re invited”) differs from the domestic version, which leads the UK VOD TV market having served 159 million requests in May and is available on multiple platforms.
The decision to use a monthly subscription for access to a range of BBC shows, rather than letting viewers hand-pick their favourites, is interesting. BBCWW has always seen healthy sales of individual programmes through third-party download operators like iTunes Store. These kinds of sales grew 45.7 percent through 2010/11.
Combining the range of shows under a single BBCWW subscription bets that a Torchwood fan in Spain, who could pay £2.49 per episode through iTunes Store, likes the rest of the BBCWW repertoire to go on paying monthly.
The BBC tells paidContent: “BBC Worldwide have developed the app in close collaboration with the public service BBC – but of course any technical support or infrastructure provided by the BBC has to be acquired by the commercial arm under very strict fair trading guidelines.
“The global BBC iPlayer app will be a different proposition to the UK on-demand service, which is partly based around catch-up of the BBC’s linear channels. As such, programming will not automatically transfer to the global iPlayer – instead it will be an editorially curated mix of contemporary and classic programming.”