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BBC to launch global subscription TV app for iPad

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
The BBC plans to launch its iPlayer app as a commercial subscription iPad offering outside the UK, initially targeting viewers in the US.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the BBC's plans are still being fleshed out.

Currently, the BBC offers a free iPlayer web app exclusively to UK residents, who already pay TV licensing fees to support the company's programming. Because it is not allowed to charge for content in the UK, the BBC is working to offer paid subscription access to its content in foreign markets, with the US being one of its first targets.

The report cited Luke Bradley-Jones, managing director of BBC.com, as saying the service would debut as a paid subscription product, "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."

Bradley-Jones also said the BBC was "planning for the Global iPlayer to initially launch just on the iPad platform, as it provides such potential to develop a truly interactive video-on-demand service, and also maps pretty nicely on to our core target audience for the service.

Eventually, the BBC hopes to branch out to offer a combination of subscription access, digital downloads, and pay per view offerings, and is looking into opportunities to work with advertisers to sponsor free content.

Part of the BBC's motivation to reach markets outside of the UK stems from limitations it has agreed to make at the behest of competing commercial rivals in broadcasting and publishing. Among other restrictions, the BBC has agreed to not expand into magazine publishing, local journalism, and the online market, and has frozen the TV license fee for UK households.

The UK government charges its residents an annual "colour TV" license fee of £145.50 ($227 US), which is used to support television and radio broadcasts and production, and also covers the online delivery of its programming, including mobile delivery via its free iPlayer web app.
post #2 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The BBC plans to launch its iPlayer app as a commercial subscription iPad offering outside the UK, initially targeting viewers in the US.

People are not used to paying for access to a single network. Is this the wave of the future? Paying for a subscription app for every TV channel that you might ever want to watch?

I'm pretty sure I don't want that sort of thing.
post #3 of 73
The BBC does not have an iOS iPlayer app. It is merely a link to the BBC's iPlayer page. It does have an iPad News app, but that does not have catchup programming on it.
post #4 of 73
Glad to hear this. I would more willingly pay for a BBC subscription through iPlayer than for anything like Hulu or what have you. Wonder when it might actually launch and how much it might be.

Go Beeb!
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post #5 of 73
The BBC are the best thing about British TV. Fact.
post #6 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by alma View Post

People are not used to paying for access to a single network. Is this the wave of the future? Paying for a subscription app for every TV channel that you might ever want to watch?

I'm pretty sure I don't want that sort of thing.

Isn't this the "A La Carte" option many people have been looking for?
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post #7 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by alma View Post

People are not used to paying for access to a single network. Is this the wave of the future? Paying for a subscription app for every TV channel that you might ever want to watch?

I'm pretty sure I don't want that sort of thing.

My cable company, Rogers, has a number of channels where you pay a specific monthly fee to access that one channel. Most channels are available in packages, but certain premium channels require individual payment.

I prefer that approach as opposed to a bunch of channels I pay for and don't watch.
post #8 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by alma View Post

People are not used to paying for access to a single network. Is this the wave of the future? Paying for a subscription app for every TV channel that you might ever want to watch?

I'm pretty sure I don't want that sort of thing.

The BBC produces four tv channels, a rolling news service, multiple radio stations, a dedicated hd channel and one of the largest back catalogues of programming in the world, it's a bit more than a single channel...
post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gromit View Post

The BBC does not have an iOS iPlayer app. It is merely a link to the BBC's iPlayer page. It does have an iPad News app, but that does not have catchup programming on it.

Which is why they've announced they're about to launch one...
post #10 of 73
Netflix won't launch on Android because it lacks generic copy protection system.

The BBC, who obviously need to protect their content as well, will launch on the iPad exclusively and not the Galaxy Tab or other Android tablets.

Could it be that the great Android openness is a blessing and a curse. It's just we don't hear very much about the curse.

To be honest I have some sympathy with the content providers on this one. If you are buying then DRM should be stripped, but if you are doing a subscription model then it just flat our doesn't work without DRM.
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad4m.phillips View Post

The BBC are the best thing about British TV. Fact.

Agreed and its quality faced its competitor to maintain a higher standards bar, something sorely lacking in the US of A
post #12 of 73
This is great! I hope it will be live streaming mode and also an on-demand on some of the other shows. I have always enjoyed BBC International
post #13 of 73
The Beeb management has been collectively out if its tiny little mind for leaving huge piles of Pounds on the table by not getting off the dime immediately and figuring out a way for people outside the UK to pay to view their programming. They have got TONS of stuff of interest to mature adults which is not available on DVD, although its true that they are also way way behing in making older documentaries available online. The only possible excuse for this bad management is perhaps there are behind-the-scenes legal battles going on similar to getting the Beatles on iTunes. Meanwhile I've been busy finding and downloading their programming free various places around the Internet. You'd THINK that top-level media-enterprise management would have learned its lesson watching the evolution of MP3s and Napster to people happily paying for content on iTunes, but oh no.....
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by nudist View Post

Agreed and its quality faced its competitor to maintain a higher standards bar, something sorely lacking in the US of A

I'm a huge fan of British television but there is no way I'd say that it's quality is higher than US television. They simply don't have the revenue or creative protections that US show have access to. Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite shows are from the UK, but they can't compare in scope to the best shows in the US.
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post #15 of 73
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post #16 of 73
I hope this is a trend. Next stop Sky Sport and Netflix streaming pls.
post #17 of 73
I'll wait for the next season of Sherlock.
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by alma View Post

People are not used to paying for access to a single network. Is this the wave of the future? Paying for a subscription app for every TV channel that you might ever want to watch?

I'm pretty sure I don't want that sort of thing.

There are really two very different replies to this question.

I will gladly pay $277/year for very high quality news with worldwide field reporting (not talking heads "entertainment" TV news) and no advertising. Worth it to me just for the news alone. But let's think about the ads...

Studies by Juliet Schor at Harvard show that for each extra hour watched per week of TV with typical US advertising, the average consumer buys about $300 extra product per year. You can say "but I really wanted to buy those things that looked good on the TV ads." Fine. Personally, BBC programming is worth more than $277 a year to me, and if I'm also saving $300 a year (x 7 if I watch an hour a day) in goo-gas I wouldn't have thought about buying, that $277 a year subscription is looking like a bargain.

On the ad value/cost, if you don't believe Schor's numbers, think about your time. Even if you are only sitting through 10 minutes of TV advertising per day, that's 60 hours/year of your time wasted. So if it's not worth $277/year to strip off the ads, you are saying your leisure time is worth less than $4.60/hour. Mine is worth more than that.

So, I expect to be subscribing to high quality channels. And for other services, I want the option of paying extra for the no-advertising variants. (And less likely to subscribe at all to services/channels that lack any no-ads variant.)
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I'll wait for the next season of Sherlock.

Sherlock is good. Unfortunately they are only going to be doing the 3 episodes per series. At least they are 1.5 hours, which makes each one a bit like a made-for-TV-movie.

Steven Moffat is one of my favorite TV writers on either side of the pond.
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post #20 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post

Netflix won't launch on Android because it lacks generic copy protection system.

The BBC, who obviously need to protect their content as well, will launch on the iPad exclusively and not the Galaxy Tab or other Android tablets.

Could it be that the great Android openness is a blessing and a curse. It's just we don't hear very much about the curse.

The BBC iPlayer uses Flash so it should work on the most recent version of Android without even requiring an Android App. Of course they might need to improve the performance of Flash on Android devices.

Content protection is the one big advantage Flash still has over HTML5.

Netflix uses Silverlight.
post #21 of 73
So we're finally going to be able to watch Top Gear legitimately without waiting a year or so for a heavily edited version? I know some people who would buy a subscription for that alone.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

The BBC iPlayer uses Flash so it should work on the most recent version of Android without even requiring an Android App. Of course they might need to improve the performance of Flash on Android devices.

Content protection is the one big advantage Flash still has over HTML5.

Netflix uses Silverlight.

But you can't view the iPlayer outside of the UK.
post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

I hope this is a trend. Next stop Sky Sport and Netflix streaming pls.


OMG YES i would like to see some old cricket matches would even pay for them
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by n1954679 View Post

But you can't view the iPlayer outside of the UK.

Presumably they are going to update the web based iPlayer to handle international subscriptions as well. I'd be very surprised if the international version was really iPad only and there was no option for me to watch on my iMac.
post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm a huge fan of British television but there is no way I'd say that it's quality is higher than US television. They simply don't have the revenue or creative protections that US show have access to. Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite shows are from the UK, but they can't compare in scope to the best shows in the US.

Then you haven't watched Spooks, which is (hands down) the best drama to hit the small screen. It well hides the lack of revenue you speak of - a spy show that doesn't come off as low budget at all.
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by alma View Post

People are not used to paying for access to a single network. Is this the wave of the future? Paying for a subscription app for every TV channel that you might ever want to watch?

I'm pretty sure I don't want that sort of thing.

If HBO offered something like this, I might pay for it.
post #27 of 73
I just use a VPN service like Strong VPN.they give a UK IP Address when I log on to them.I can then watch all the stuff at the BBC iPlayer site for $50 a year.
post #28 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

Then you haven't watched Spooks, which is (hands down) the best drama to hit the small screen. It well hides the lack of revenue you speak of - a spy show that doesn't come off as low budget at all.

I think it's rebranded as MI-5 here, but yes it's a great drama series. I've only watched a couple of episodes but it's pretty intriguing.


But my fav is Top Gear by a long shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kazuki View Post

So we're finally going to be able to watch Top Gear legitimately without waiting a year or so for a heavily edited version? I know some people who would buy a subscription for that alone.

+100 for that. Cant stand the US / Canada version that cuts part of the news section of the show. Here's to hoping.
post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

Then you haven't watched Spooks, which is (hands down) the best drama to hit the small screen. It well hides the lack of revenue you speak of - a spy show that doesn't come off as low budget at all.

I used to watch it. It was pretty good for a British drama, but I stopped around series 4 or 5. Like many of these shows the creator seems to get less interested and the writing seems to unravel a bit,. There become inconsistencies in characters between episodes. Like I said, Spooks was pretty good in this regard, but it cant compare to the US equivalents which have teams of writers that can work on a show for years at a time. If I watched it again I could point out specific examples, but I dont have the time or interest to do so. Again, Im not saying that British shows are bad as i clearly stated I watch plenty, im pointing the false claim that US shows offer no quality or standards.
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post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Which is why they've announced they're about to launch one...

True, but the report said it is already available in the UK, which it's not.
post #31 of 73
Anything that enables people anywhere to gain access to content they want and are willing to pay for is a good thing.

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post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I used to watch it. It was pretty good for a British drama, but I stopped around series 4 or 5. Like many of these shows the creator seems to get less interested and the writing seems to unravel a bit,. There become inconsistencies in characters between episodes. Like I said, Spooks was pretty good in this regard, but it cant compare to the US equivalents which have teams of writers that can work on a show for years at a time. If I watched it again I could point out specific examples, but I dont have the time or interest to do so. Again, Im not saying that British shows are bad as i clearly stated I watch plenty, im pointing the false claim that US shows offer no quality or standards.

That's right, you have just explained why the US versions of UK shows turned out so well, Life on Mars, and the IT crowd are good examples...
post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad4m.phillips View Post

The BBC are the best thing about British TV. Fact.

Actually Channel 4 news is a lot better than the BBC news, but the BBC is far better than any US news channels I have seen... they are terrible.
post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Downpour View Post

Actually Channel 4 news is a lot better than the BBC news, but the BBC is far better than any US news channels I have seen... they are terrible.

Channel 4 News is very "labour" supportive, where you see BBC News is much more unbiased and unfiltered. In-fact they even report corruption within their own company/staff and government.

As a UK resident, the license fee is worth paying, you get brilliant quality TV, which with no ads means no breaks, which means you get full 30 min, 1 hour episodes/shows.

Not to mention all the recourses you get online and on the radio, ad-free radio, ad-free on their website with educational recourses, historic recourses, news, media, sports, games, business, music food etc.

There is currently no iOS iPlayer app, however the iPad and iPhone have optimised sites that use HTML5, since there HTML5 players don't have an option to download the content, where Android because of its problems people can make mods on it that allow them to download BBC Videos, which is why BBC disabled access to it.

You have to love the BBCs originally, where they come out with original shoes, where many of them have been copied by other stations, ugh hmm The Apprentice.

BBC is a clear example where paid is better.
post #35 of 73
I absolutely can't stand the BBC. Socialist propaganda spewing force fed TV. Hate it. Hate it.
It disgusts me that my country forces me to pay for it's bias reporting even though I don't watch it and am against it's commie terrorist loving anti american principles.
post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post

Netflix won't launch on Android because it lacks generic copy protection system.

The BBC, who obviously need to protect their content as well, will launch on the iPad exclusively and not the Galaxy Tab or other Android tablets.

Could it be that the great Android openness is a blessing and a curse. It's just we don't hear very much about the curse.

To be honest I have some sympathy with the content providers on this one. If you are buying then DRM should be stripped, but if you are doing a subscription model then it just flat our doesn't work without DRM.

The BBC are massive supporters of being platform independent. Don't try and lump them into your iOS fanboi gang.

Besides you don't even need an app for android. You can run the whole BBC iPlayer experience on the website in flash. They could just allow foreigners a subscription to their site if an app was so difficult on android.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I absolutely can't stand the BBC. Socialist propaganda spewing force fed TV. Hate it. Hate it.
It disgusts me that my country forces me to pay for it's bias reporting even though I don't watch it and am against it's commie terrorist loving anti american principles.

Are we watching the same BBC News channel? Relative to all the other news sources we have in the UK BBC News is "socialist propaganda spewing" and "commie terrorist loving anti american principles"?

I think that's all wrong but just to pick one, what anti American principles?
post #38 of 73
The UK TV licence fee funds not only BBC TV, radio and websites, but also the digital switchover of Channel 4, BBC Welsh language programming aired on S4C, and Digital UK (the body established to assist in the process of digital switchover).

From 2015, all of S4C programming, BBC World Service on radio and BBC Arabic Television will also be funded by the licence fee, instead of BBC Worldwide.
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therbo View Post


You have to love the BBCs originally, where they come out with original shoes, where many of them have been copied by other stations, ugh hmm The Apprentice.

Other way around with The Apprentice. It was a US show originally (with Donald Trump) and was then sold to other countries. The creator, Mark Burnett, is a Brit living in the US.
post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by willett View Post




On the ad value/cost, if you don't believe Schor's numbers, think about your time. Even if you are only sitting through 10 minutes of TV advertising per day, that's 60 hours/year of your time wasted. So if it's not worth $277/year to strip off the ads, you are saying your leisure time is worth less than $4.60/hour. Mine is worth more than that.



I use a DVR. Problem solved.

About the only thing I watch live is CNN. And even then, I often have my laptop or the remote control on my lap and I surf during the commercials.
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