BBC iPlayer Available Outside the UK Next Year
The BBC’s iPlayer
website will be available globally starting next year. Fans of Dr. Who and Top Gear will finally be able to watch BBC programming directly from the web. Currently, BBC programming is limited to residents of the UK who must pay a yearly television-licensing fee. When you try to watch a program from outside the UK you are greeted with a message saying “Not available in your area.” The BBC has not committed to an exact launch date, only stating that it will be sometime “next year.”
The BBC Trust is still deciding whether to charge viewers a fee per episode or to use advertising to generate income. Hopefully, they will follow in Hulu’s footsteps and make their programming available for free with modest advertising.
John Smith, the chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said, “it would open up the ‘under-exploited’ market for UK shows, such as Top Gear and Doctor Who.” The BBC would be wise to launch the iPlayer website soon after the holiday season when people are more likely to be indoors watching online programming.
Owning a television and watching programs in the UK is very different from other parts of the world. Every household must pay a licensing fee to legally watch televised programming. Officials go to great lengths to ensure that every house is in compliance, even making random inspections at times. These licensing fees cannot be collected outside the UK and because of this BBC programming has been limited to UK residents only.
With viewers transitioning from the television screen to the computer screen, it’s good to see television networks like the BBC keeping up with the changing needs of their viewers. Hopefully, the BBC iPlayer’s next stop will be on the Apple TV.