updated 04:30 pm EST, Thu March 3, 2011
Should cost 'small number of dollars per month'
The BBC's iPlayer service will "definitely" become available internationally on the iPad later this year, according to director general Mark Thompson. Speaking at this week's Financial Times Digital Media & Broadcasting conference, Thompson added that foreign access would cost "a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer than 10." The statement was likely made with US prices in mind, given the size of the potential market.
iPlayer streams the BBC's TV and radio content -- such as Doctor Who and Top Gear -- for up to seven days past original broadcast dates. The service is free for UK residents, who get it as a benefit of TV licensing fees. Because funding has been associated with local taxes, however, it has been deliberately kept out of foreign markets.
Thompson suggests that extending iPlayer internationally may have several advantages. Aside from creating new "windows" for selling shows, it may circumvent the normal limitations of foreign distribution. BBC shows are often rebranded or reformatted outside the UK, Thompson observes.