BBC to Go Global With iPlayer

11 November 2008

LONDON: Following the success of its iPlayer 'catch-up' TV service in the UK, the BBC plans to roll-out the facility on an international scale, said the corporation's director of future media and technology, Erik Huggers.

Speaking at a London conference on the future of online media distribution, Huggers revealed that he wants to open-up iPlayer access to international users. Such a move would challenge the dominance of a similar US offering, Hulu.

Said Huggers: "The internet is, by definition, a global medium, yet today we are artificially blocking international access to the iPlayer. That's a problem, in my mind, and a big challenge for the industry."

Access via a PC or Apple Mac currently accounts for the vast majority of iPlayer viewers, notching 85% of the total audience, with NintendoWii and Linux lagging out of sight with just 1% each.

The remaining 13% of the audience is served via Virgin Media's cable system which in the four months since June has served forty-nine million iPlayer downloads.

According to Huggers, the market is set to expand further still via such platforms as iPhone and iPodTouch, whose users currently account for a further 3%.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff