Skip to main content

BBC’s international iPlayer service to shut down next month

The BBC has announced that the international version of its iPlayer service will close next month.

The subscription service enables individuals based outside of the UK in Western Europe, Australia and Canada to access on-demand content.

Read more: Cross-device syncing enabled for iPlayer with BBC iD app

It has been suggested that the BBC is dropping the service as a result of pressure from US broadcasters. Although the global iPlayer service never launched in the US, it is believed that some subscription TV networks had threatened to stop showing BBC America if it was ever made available.

BBC Worldwide, the organisation’s commercial arm, makes a significant portion of its revenue from making its programmes available overseas, including well-known shows like Doctor Who and Top Gear.

The decision to close the international service was officially announced back in October 2013, but only now has a confirmed shutdown date of 26 June been provided. The broadcaster will now focus on making content available via

Although iPlayer has proven hugely popular in the UK, internationally the service has been hampered by only being available across iOS platforms. Users in Europe were charged €5.99 (£4.30) a month in order to access content, while Australians and Canadians were charged 7.49 Australian dollars and 6.00 Canadian dollars respectively.

The programmes made available to international users also differed from the UK service, with older episodes from classic series such as Fawlty Towers and Planet Earth also accessible.

BBC Worldwide expressed its gratitude to international users and asserted that the corporation would not be neglecting them despite the shutdown.

"We would like to thank all of our subscribers for using the service,” explained a statement. “We are now developing plans to launch new digital services across multiple devices.”

Read more: BBC targets £90m saving and a ‘digital future’

Existing users of the global BBC iPlayer have been notified and their subscriptions will automatically stop next month.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.