Apple iTunes to sell BBC shows in UK

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UK TV ON iTUNES: BBC signs deal that would see many of its shows up for download in the UK

British viewers will now be able to download a section of BBC programmes from the Apple iTunes Store, bringing it in line with all of the television networks in the US, including NBC (NBC Universal), ABC (Disney), CBS (CBS Corporation), FOX (News Corp.) and The CW (CBS Corporation/Time Warner).

The shows, which will include Life on Mars, Spooks and Little Britain, will be able to be purchased by British users for £1.89, or US$3.69.

This has been seen as an extension to the BBC’s iPlayer, which allows users to stream and download programs, but the downloads are available only for Windows and do have an expiry date.

Though the new deal will see DRM still being in place, the downloads won’t expire and will allow users to watch them on the iPod or the iPhone. It is unknown if the BBC will be extending that deal worldwide, but it is unlikely.

It should be noted that the deal was done by the commercial arm of the BBC, BBC Worldwide. British users downloading the shows will be going directly to the BBC via BBC Worldwide.

BBC Worldwide is also in a joint venture between Channel 4 and ITV to produce another on-demand service which will bring content from the many channels owned by all three parties. The service has been dubbed “Kangaroo”.

BBC Worldwide also owns many channels internationally, as the BBC cannot due to advertising. These include BBC America, uktv in the UK, UK.TV in Australia and New Zealand and the brand new international version of BBC HD, launching soon in Australia in 2008.

Apple Australia currently does not have any deals between the main commercial networks, nor the government owned channels. ABC TV currently release many shows for free as podcasts.

To date, the BBC is the only UK broadcaster that has a deal with Apple.