BBC Worldwide boss points to localised country versions

BBC to launch iPlayer worldwide in 2011

The chief executive of BBC Worldwide has revealed that the International version of the corporation’s iPlayer will arrive next year.

John Smith told the Telegraph that the global version had received the go-ahead from the BBC Trust and would open up the market for popular BBC television programs such as Doctor Who and Top Gear. Outside of the licence fee zone and under the remit of the commercial BBC Worldwide operation, reportedly BBC bosses have yet to decide if advertising or direct billing will be used.

It’s claimed that the site could charge up to $10 a time for popular programs while allowing fans of Doctor Who “get their fix legitimately.” Smith wrote in an article on the Telegraph that UK TV makers have always been skilled and supported by “innovative commissioning” from broadcasters.

“The sheer breadth of their output is not matched by any other country and is testament to the British public’s appetite for fresh new forms of TV entertainment”, said Smith.

Smith also said that offering a global iPlayer was more work than it would appear, saying that while the web was global and “without borders”, contractual agreements with talent made it moer complicated and indicated there would not be a true global BBC iPlayer , saying “we have to look at different markets on a case by case basis.”

Ultimately the BBC views the commercial arm of BBC Worldwide as a valuable source of revenue to funnel back into the corporation which is facing a free on license fee increases.

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