The BBC is said to be looking into offering a global service to its iPlayer service, currently available to the UK market only, with the help of its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. However, unlike the iPlayer in the UK, you are likely going to be charged to watch one single episode.
The iPlayer in the UK is paid by the license fee and is advertising free – mainly because of its charter states that no advertising is permitted on any of services. Rights issues, however, prevent its content to be viewed outside the UK, however, its radio content is available to be streamed via podcasts or heard live.
The main reason that resonates across the stories around the world is that it would allow its commercial arm to raise its prices for “premium content”, with executives saying that audiences around the globe will be prepared to pay $10 per episode for shows like Doctor Who, Torchwood and Spooks.
As well, if the service is launched, the content will most likely be a catchup service on the many BBC-owned international channels, including BBC America in the US and UKTV in Australia; or will be historical material from the BBC archives. Also, because of the nature of BBC America and UKTV’s programming, it will also include programming from its rival broadcasters ITV and Channel 4.
Talking to paidContent earlier in the month, managing director for BBC.com Luke Bradley-Jones said that users are willing to pay for such content. “Millions of people love Torchwood and would probably pay 10 bucks an episode rather than two bucks,” he said, noting the pricing that Apple sells the same content in its iTunes store.
Right. Though, I’m not sure I would pay $10 for an episode, where I could get it cheaper on iTunes, or free on your very own service (via a IP masker) or even via BitTorrent.