BBC plans for paid 'global iPlayer'

BBC plans for paid 'global iPlayer'

The BBC is planning to launch a paid for international version of the iPlayer which would allow global audiences to watch programmes like Doctor Who, Torchwood and Top Gear.

BBC Worldwide, the profit making arm of the corporation, said that a global iPlayer would enable the business to raise its prices for its premium content.

Executive say that global audiences would be prepared to pay $10 for an episode of hit programmes like Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off starring John Barrowman.

The global iPlayer would also host “premium catalogue material” including historical material from the BBC’s archives and catch-up material from overseas channels.

It would not show the BBC’s domestic iPlayer content because of international rights clearance required.

However, it could host programmes shown by other UK broadcasters such as Channel 4.

The focus is expected to be on America, where 20 million of’s 50 million users are registered.

Luke Bradley Jones, who heads BBC Worldwide’s digital operations in the US and managing director of, told PaidContent that the global iPlayer would enable the business to raise its prices.

He said: “Millions of people love Torchwood and would probably pay 10 bucks an episode rather than two bucks,” he said, referring to the price-ceiling imposed by iTunes.

The BBC iPlayer allows viewers to watch popular BBC programmes for up to seven days after they were first broadcast. It has received over 500 million requests to view BBC television programmes, like EastEnders, since its launch in 2007.

The international iPlayer plans, reportedly six months in development, will first require approval from the BBC Trust, the Corporation's governing arm.

In the meantime, BBC Worldwide intends to sell applications on several mobile platforms, where it sees "a much higher willingness to pay for content." Mr Bradley-Jones added that commercial BBC mobile apps will likely cost around $2 and arrive in the next few months.


I have wanted this forever, but $10 an episode? Sorry, no thanks. The ridiculous DVD prices already kill my wallet.

Ignoring the price, what British TV shows would you guys like to see on a global iPlayer?