The BBC’s on-demand content service, iPlayer, has been a huge success story for the corporation.
Since its launch at the end of 2007, iPlayer has now grown to encompass millions of videos being watched every day, and has established a presence on an extraordinary number of platforms including digital TV (such as Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview), mobile devices (including BlackBerry, iPhone and Android), and even games consoles (including Wii and PS3).
So far, though, iPlayer has been a UK success story only – but at long last, its launch to new markets is almost upon us, and details are emerging on what the new service will look like for worldwide users.
The Guardian reports that iPlayer will first launch in western Europe, with users paying a subscription of less than $10 (£6/€7) per month, although the exact price is still being finalised.
Unlike the domestic UK iPlayer service, which only offers a 7-day ‘catch-up’ facility, the international iPlayer will be “a different proposition”, with a range of recent programming mixed in with offerings from the BBC archives, including popular comedy like Fawlty Towers, factual programming such as Planet Earth, and selections from its expansive library of legendary music content.
The European launch is described as “very much a pilot”, and indeed international users should not immediately expect the ubiquity of service that iPlayer enjoys in the UK, with the service initially being made available only on Apple’s iPad.
Subject to the success of the launch, it will no doubt be extended onto other devices and into further regions… but when? The first rollout is expected to begin in early Q4 to western Europe, but publicly at least, the BBC is being very coy about timeframes, saying only that it will be deployed “in a careful and measured way”.