BBC iPlayer to close international on-demand video service next month

Back in July 2011, the BBC unveiled the first international edition of its iPlayer video on-demand service, which had previously been available exclusively in the UK. The 'Global iPlayer' offered some free content from the BBC's immense library of programming, but access to most of the videos available required a subscription, priced at €5.99 EUR / $6.99 CAD / $7.49 AUD a month.

BBC iPlayer eventually made it to sixteen markets, but it was only ever supported on iOS. And its expansion will go no further, as the Beeb has announced that it will be shutting down the service outside of the UK in the next few weeks.

iPlayer never made it to the US, and there are some indications that this was due to stiff opposition from American pay-TV providers, who threatened to drop the BBC America channel from their line-ups, in the belief that the BBC's own video on-demand service could cost them viewers.

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the corporation, had signaled a likely end to the Global iPlayer back in October 2013, and further confirmation of its eventual demise appeared in the BBC's Annual Report last year. These changes will not affect the UK version of iPlayer, which is funded by the TV licence fee, and is not managed by BBC Worldwide.

Existing users of the international service have been notified, and auto-renewing subscriptions have now been canceled. BBC Worldwide plans to fill the gap left by the closure of the Global iPlayer with "new digital services across multiple devices", and a renewed focus on video content on its international website, BBC.com.

Source: BBC Worldwide via BBC News

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