Global BBC iPlayer To Be Paid, iPad-Only Service

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More details are emerging about the international launch of BBC iPlayer, the video-on-demand service that will stream content not only from the BBC, but also other British broadcasters and television producers, and it’s… not exactly what people were expecting. BBC.com managing director Luke Bradley-Jones has announced that iPlayer content will only be available for paid subscribers and, somewhat surprisingly, initially only available as an iPad app.

Talking to the UK’s Broadcast magazine, Bradley-Jones explained the choice of paid subscription model:

There’s a general acknowledgement in the world of VoD that there needs to be a hybrid business model – a combination of subscriptions, download to own and pay per view. I can see the value of that view and I believe it’s the way that the global iPlayer will go in the medium term.

However I can announce here that we’re going to be adopting a pure paid subscription model for the global iPlayer for launch – in part to get audiences used to using the service, but more importantly so we can generate additional value from the service in terms of the user data that it gives us.

No date has been given for the launch of the iPad iPlayer, although it’s believed that the BBC has an internal 12 month deadline to launch. An iPad app has already been developed for the (free) British version of the iPlayer, but remains unreleased at this time.

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