The unavailability of the BBC iPlayer to anyone outside the UK in a bugbear for many, but now it seems as if the Beeb is going to follow in the footsteps of Channel 4 and open up its online borders for all to enter.
C4’s 4OD service has been available to viewers around the globe for the past year and now the BBC is taking similar steps. The difference however is the BBC has indicated it will look for a fee before allowing overseas viewers access its video-on-demand service.
This is going to be a sticking point for a lot of people considering the 4OD service is free through the C4 website. BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith told the Telegraph that the BBC iPlayer will have an international version next year. However there has been no official statement from the BBC Trust.
There is very little doubt that the iPlayer would have a significant global audience from ex-pats looking to catch up on EastEnders, to global fans of unique BBC programmes such as Doctor Who and even MasterChef. When speaking about the potential service, Smith talked about “opening up a new revenue stream for the entire UK production industry, alongside sales to traditional broadcasters."
From online newspapers to fee-based music subscription services, companies have found it hard to strike the right balance between offering their online content for free, on a pay-per-view basis or a subscription service. This is obviously something the BBC will be looking at seriously – especially since the Government has frozen the level of the BBC licence fee.