The BBC has confirmed that its global iPlayer service will launch as a paid-subscription service when it arrives in 2011, with the first offering being an iPad app. According to Broadcast, BBC.com managing director Luke Bradley-Jones confirmed that the global iPlayer - which allows, in the UK at least, access to the most recent seven days of programming online - would likely migrate to "a hybrid business model" which would combine subscriptions, download to own and pay per view.
"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. We will also offer advertisers the chance to partner with us on the ‘free’ areas of the service." Luke Bradley-Jones, managing director, BBC.com
In the UK, iPlayer is a free catch-up service similar to Hulu, showing the network's own content from TV and radio channels. Its availability has been limited, however, due to the fact that the BBC is funded by UK license fees.
The eventual goal, it seems, is to offer not only BBC content but that from other UK channels, some of which is currently shown on BBC America and other international channels but which is not available for iPlayer streaming in the UK. The BBC has not yet confirmed all the countries in the first wave of global iPlayer access, but US availability is a primary target.