BBC iPlayer launches on iPad

The BBC has now launched an international version of its iPlayer for the iPad in Australia.

iPlayer is BBC’s video on demand platform, similar to ABC’s iView. Both have had geo-restrictions allowing views by local audiences, but the new application allows Aussies to subscribe to the BBC archives.

Subscriptions will cost $9.49 per month or $89.99 per year although there is a ‘try-before-you-buy’ period too.

The content available is extensive, but it isn’t current programming.

Launch programs include the entire first series of Doctor Who along with Little Britain, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Ab Fab, Silent Witness, The Hairy Bikers, Charlie and Lola, period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice, Cranford and the House of Elliot. Also included are Holby City, The Blackadder box set, Top Gear specials, Gavin and Stacey, Torchwood, Walking with Dinosaurs, Bottom, Life of Birds, Panorama and much more.

The real appeal of a subscription might take hold if and when BBC allowed viewers to watch current episodes of BBC programmes. But such a move would impact on licensing deals with Australian networks including ABC, Nine and Foxtel. All existing contracts with Aussie networks will be honoured. EastEnders, for example, remains exclusive to Foxtel within Australia.

Jana Bennett, President of BBC Worldwide Networks and iPlayer told the ABC, “There isn’t a plan to have a license fee per se, but there is potential to answer the pent up demand by having something like this.”

The iPlayer app is being trialled in Australia before a US launch.

You can watch your first 10 hours for free by downloading the app on your iPad.

10 Comments:

  1. DavidO says:
    September 29, 2011 at 5:57 am
    For $10 a month, I’d be expecting current content, not a collection of old reruns. Plus since the content is streamed, you can only watch stuff if you’re on Wi-Fi. If I’m paying for content, I should be able to download it and watch it whenever I want.

    Not quite correct – all content can be downloaded and watched offline via your iPad or TV whenever you want. Also, once you have downloaded the content that you want to view it is available to you as long as your subscription in valid. Wi-Fi is only required to download the shows, not watch them as well.

    Craig says:
    September 29, 2011 at 5:45 am
    I guess this only works with the iPad, what about iPhone?

    The app is for iPad users only – not available for the iPhone.

  2. @Craig: No signs of an iPhone version on the App Store.

    @Secret Squirrel: The BBC would have to release an iPhone version specifically, or a “universal” version which works on both iPhone and iPad. iPhone apps can work on the iPad, but not vice versa.

  3. Doesn’t seem all that attractive if you can’t get the new shows, particularly as I’m reliably informed there are easy and very inexpensive ways of getting around the geographical restrictions that allow you to watch the whole package available to UK viewers (hasten to add that I’m not in any way advocating that people do this, merely commenting on the marketing implications of such a situation existing, disgraceful though it is).

  4. For $10 a month, I’d be expecting current content, not a collection of old reruns. Plus since the content is streamed, you can only watch stuff if you’re on Wi-Fi. If I’m paying for content, I should be able to download it and watch it whenever I want.

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