As we speculated a couple of weeks ago, the demand for people wanting to watch Masterchef abroad has become so huge that the big wigs at BBC have decided to roll out its iPlayer service to the world – at least that part of the world that owns an iPad.
The iPad iPlayer app will be available on a pure paid subscription model to those outside the UK and will bring Jeremy Clarkson to a whole new audience – though we’re not sure this is a good thing. Top Gear, Doctor Who and many other shows will be sure to attract an audience not only among ex-pats but among the general TV watching public as well. Whether the general public will be interested in seeing what type of earrings Pat Butcher will be wearing in the Queen Vic is another matter.
BBC.com managing director Luke Bradley-Jones told the Digital TV Summit that the eagerly awaited app would evolve into a hybrid model, but at launch would be a paid subscription model.
"There's a general acknowledgment in the world of VOD that there needs to be a hybrid business model – a combination of subscriptions, download to own and pay per view," said Bradley-Jones. "However I can announce here that we're going to be adopting a pure paid subscription model for the global iPlayer for launch – in part to get audiences used to using the service, but more importantly so we can generate additional value from he service in terms of the user data that it gives us.
In another interesting statement, Bradley-Jones hinted that the BBC would also look to get advertisers on board to sponsor certain parts of the service. "We will also offer advertisers the chance to partner with us on the 'free' areas of the service." Although the BBC does already offer its shows through the likes of iPlayer, an own-branded product available globally could well be a major money-spinner for them.
With the iPlayer clocking up 139million requests in October alone, it is now the UK’s most popular broadcaster-operated video-on-demand service.