BBC's Global iPlayer iPad App Offers Catch Up With 60 Years of TV
The BBC's iPlayer (news, site) helped drag its home British audience into the video-on-demand age. Now it's going global with both current ouput and decades of classic shows on offer.

This is the BBC

The iPlayer started life as a small British experiment, I remember the trepidation and excitement of the developers when interviewing them for a magazine around five years ago. Since then, TV-on-demand services have become commonplace but the iPlayer is still the hottest ticket around, for Brits anyway.

From starting out with only the last week's TV output, it has expanded to include whole series catch-up and replays of movies, and has migrated from the desktop to mobiles and games consoles. Now it reaches beyond its home shores as promised to offer the best of its output, throughout the decades of its existence to the world.

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The current iPad iPlayer edition, ready to rock the world

A Pilot Episode

In the guise of a one-year trial, it will initially be available in 11 European countries before expanding to America, Canada, Australia and other locations. Running on a subscription model, it will offer content for €6.99 (US$ 10) a month or €49.99 (US$ 70) a year. While the app will be iPad-only for now, an Android version will be provided if demand is strong enough.

The international version will feature 3G as well as WiFi support, so users can enjoy content outside the home or office. There will also be an offline download mode, to stock up on content before a car trip or flight. There will be special themed events based around key BBC content such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Top Gear and so on.

With 1,500 hours of content at launch, it will grow by over 100 hours per month to make one of the most diverse and available collections of VoD content on the planet and finally getting rid of that hated "this content is not available in your country" messages.

The US launch would be happening sooner, but content deals are taking longer to sort out, due to the BBC's existing agreements with various companies. The iPlayer will work alongside existing iTunes, NetFlix and other content.