Skip to main content

International iPlayer an iPad exclusive

The BBC's iPlayer video on demand service has been confirmed as going global, but it'll be a paid subscription model exclusive to iPad users - at least, in the beginning.

That's the story being put forward by the guys over at paidContent (opens in new tab), anyway - and while managing director Luke Bradley-Jones has confirmed that the initial launch will be a paid subscription model, he hasn't ruled out other payment options for the future.

It's often easy to forget that users outside the UK don't have access to the BBC's iPlayer service, which offers a web interface to an archive of the last seven days of TV and radio content - but it's something the world is clamouring for, and the BBC is hoping to turn a quick profit on with the new model.

Speaking to the Digital TV Summit, Bradley-Jones confirmed the BBC's plans for the international iPlayer launch: "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 the service in terms of the user data that it gives us."

He also stated that he believed the BBC would look at adding download to own and pay per view options to the international iPlayer roll-out in the medium term.

Reading Bradley-Jones' comments, which are available in full for subscribers to Broadcast Magazine (opens in new tab), it's hard to see where paidContent has got the claim of iPad exclusivity from - but, if true, it's a bold move by the BBC. While there's no denying that the iPad has been an incredibly successful product launch, single-handedly rebooting the tablet market, the number of iPad owners are dwarfed by the volume of laptop, desktop, and netbook owners out there.

If the BBC is deliberately excluding itself from that far larger market, it must have a reason to do so - and it could tie in with rumours of Apple adding the infrastructure for newspaper subscription packages to the iOS platform that powers the iPad.

So far, the BBC has neither confirmed nor denied the iPad exclusivity claims. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.