BBC iPlayer going global

In a major online shake-up, the BBC’s iPlayer has its sights set on global success. It plans to make shows available for non-Brits.

John Smith (actual name), head of BBC Worldwide, sees the international market for British shows as “under-exploited.”

He says the launch of an international BBC iPlayer would allow overseas fans of shows like Doctor Who and Top Gear to “get their fix legitimately”, rather than downloading programmes illegally.

The catch-up platform works similar to ABC’s iView.

But so far there are some unanswered because overseas viewers do not pay the TV licence fee, the international version of the BBC iPlayer will have to be funded differently, with either a fee or ads.

BBC also plans to make its mobile apps available of users of iPhone and Android.

Source: Engadget, Idealo


  1. I think if you subscribe to foxtel you should have free access to bbc iplayer to watch all the shows after they air on UKTV channel. UKTV have been saying for a couple of years that they are going to put downloads on their website but they never have. by the way you can get Eastenders now on foxtel download

  2. Hope if it’s for a fee users could pay in Aussie dollars instead of pounds.

    While not related to iPlayer, I have suggested some shows from our channels to be added to the US’s Hulu via Twitter.

  3. Isn’t Merlin on BBC? If so awesome.. I can watch it legally instead of having to wait for channel 10 to show it whenever.

    Although if you have to pay a fee I’m not that desperate!

  4. Secret Squïrrel

    @Winter – if you wish to bypass geoblocking, try using a proxy located in the same country as the site on which you’re trying to view content. I haven’t tried it for the UK but it works fine for US-based content. Just make sure that you tick the enable scripts box (or untick disable scripts) as the default is usually not to run these.

  5. OMG!! I can finally watch the amazing Formula 1 BBC coverage & the BBC F1 forum!! This is a dream come true! Thank you BBC!! I don’t mind paying a small fee for that at all!

  6. So would this mean we could watch shows like Doctor Who and Top Gear the day they air in the UK, rather than having to wait for local networks? I can’t imagine the ABC and Nine being particularly happy about that. Perhaps the BBC will share revenue with the local networks?

  7. This is a good move from BBC, I applaud it. If only the US networks would consider following suit, it may just give the networks here a push in the right direction and stop them delaying or changing the programming times for shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Event, Glee, Modern Family, etc. Even though these shows are only delayed by a week sometimes its still encouraging illegal downloading.
    Just place them online for a 3 to 4 day time period or maybe a week and those who want to watch it online will & those that wish to wait for the TV platform will wait!

  8. Not to mention Nine and other rights holders having a stink since they own the internet rights for their country. I only see this applying to areas that don’t have a local rights holder.

  9. It would be great if they make Doctor Who available shortly after it screens in the UK.

    Then again, if the ABC can screen the Doctor Who Christmas special on Boxing Day (as they plan to do so this year), I would hope that they can screen the next series of Doctor Who in Australia very soon after it airs in the UK as well.

  10. One thing they’ll need to address is the quality. Neither iView or 7Plus offer the shows in decent picture quality. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the project works and whether other networks (e.g. the big four US companies) pick this up.

    It would have been good to have watched UK Big Brother legally rather “than from other source” (although this was a Channel 4 show)

  11. Doing this would also financially damage their subsidiary UKTV as well as reducing the prices paid for their shows by international networks such as the ABC.

  12. They have been talking about this for months and they still haven’t worked out the details?
    This could explain why the ABC seems to be getting Who so quickly now!

  13. This can only be good, it could mean ABC and other will have to show BBC shows sooner, unless like iTunes there are different regions so show will only appear after they have aired locally?

  14. I use iPlayer through a VPN and it works amazingly. Will be interesting to see what the international version offers. Altho my main use of iPlayer is to watch the F1 and i doubt very much that would be available globally.

  15. its a shame iPlayer and iView cant host some of its each others shows, would love to watch something ilke Gruen Transfer on iPlayer, its unlikely its ever going to sell to the UK.

    Talking of “its unlikely its ever going to sell to the UK.” I do not think the internation iPlayer will be updated at BBC iPlayer pace for big shows like Doctor Who, as it makes the programs worth alot less on the open market.

    Still that said, they could market the iPlayer itself, its a good bit of software which could be used by others.

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