For some time now, an international version of the BBC iPlayer has been in the works and it has now emerged that western Europeans will be the first to experience the service when it rolls out later this summer.
The service will roll out in a "careful and measured way" and will work as a pilot project for BBC before it looks to roll the project out elsewhere. The service will only initially be available as an iPad app, which will further restrict the amount of people who will have access to the service. BBC fans in western European countries are expected to pay somewhere around £6 per month to access the service which will give you access to a mix of archive and contemporary content on the iPad. The service will be a very different proposition to the service available to UK residents which shows recent catch-up content only.
Because they won’t be tied to providing catch-up programming, the BBC plans to group the international content around themes such as documentaries, sport, comedy etc. As a result of this some programmes which don’t necessarily fit into one of these categories, such as EastEnders, may not be available. No date has yet been set for a launch elsewhere, such as the US, as the BBC will wait and see how the service works in western Europe before deciding to expand its availability. The service is also likely to become available on other devices as well as generally on the internet.
The launch of the iPlayer on an international stage is sure to be a success but it will be vital that the BBC gets the mix of content and pricing correct if its to be used widely.