BBC iPlayer iPad app hits Europe today

Access to global iPlayer available exclusively through Apple tablet


The BBC iPlayer will begin its global roll-out on Thursday when the Apple iPad application becomes available in 11 Western European countries.

The service will hit the App Store with the Corporation promising that the international iPlayer will be more of an on-demand platform, rather than the catch-up TV service we're accustomed to.

The iPad app will be the exclusive way for Europeans to access the global iPlayer service during the one-year trial period.

As well as showing new episodes of

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EastEnders, Top Gear and Doctor Who, the service will also offer cherished archive content like Only Fools and Horses on-demand.

100 hours a month

The catalogue will contain 1,500 hours of programming at first with the Beeb promising to add 100 hours a month from a 50-60 year history of programming.

Mark Smith, global iPlayer launch director says: "Most audiences know the big shows like Top Gear or Doctor Who, but maybe not so much about other shows, so we have been working hard on how we surface that content." managing director Luke Bradley-Jones added: "We think we have a load of unmet demand for BBC and British content internationally,"

"This is not a catch-up service: this is a video-on-demand service. We will have content from the last month, but also the best from the catalogue stretching back 50 to 60 years."

ITV and Channel 4 too

As an unexpected bonus, 10 per cent of the content will be comprised from ITV and Channel 4 shows thanks to deals Auntie made with independent television companies.

The app will offer some free content supported by pre-roll ads and sponsorship, but for full access Europeans will have to pay €6.99 a month or €49.99 a year.

Users can stream over Wi-Fi and 3G and also download a programme for viewing offline, which overrides Apple's hibernation functionality.

Not even us Brits can stream the iPlayer app over 3G, so hopefully that's coming to the UK build soon.

Launch countries

The 11 launch countries are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

UK users will not be able to access the service, which means no on-demand classics for us as yet.

Another disappointed group will be ex-pats living across the Atlantic who still can't access the Beeb's library (A handy little VPN server can assist with that though).

The BBC says once rights issues are sorted out, launches in the US, Canada and Australia will follow later this year as the one year trial extends to more territories.

"The rights picture for the US is a little bit more complicated," said Luke Bradley-Jones.

"The nature of the agreements with our rights partners are different, and the windows across our existing business are older than they are in Europe.

"Form our side, we have to jump through a few more of those commercial and legal hoops. We could have launched in the US with a product this week, but there would have been a few too many missing parts."

via Guardian