BBC Global iPlayer to close in June

  • Published
Global iPlayer
Image caption,
The global iPlayer app was first made available in July 2011

The BBC has confirmed the "global" version of its iPlayer on-demand service will close next month.

The corporation had charged users subscription fees to watch programmes via the app in Western Europe, Australia and Canada.

However, it never came to the US.

Reports suggest American pay-TV operators had threatened to drop the BBC America channel if the app had launched locally because they believed it would cost them viewers.

Both BBC America and the international edition of iPlayer screen some of the corporation's best known programmes, including Doctor Who, Top Gear, Sherlock and David Attenborough's natural history documentaries.

Press releases had always described the online facility as a "pilot" meant to provide "consumer insights".

BBC Worldwide - the broadcaster's commercial arm - first announced it intended to pull support for the Global iPlayer app in October 2013, saying it would instead focus on making material available via the website.

The corporation repeated the point in its annual review last July, but until now had not provided an exact shut-off date.

"As announced in July 2014, the service will be closing this year as planned," said a spokeswoman.

"The service will close on 26 June."

Image source, APple
Image caption,
The BBC only ever made the global version of iPlayer available to iOS users

She declined to provide usage statistics.

The global iPlayer app was first made available as an iOS app in July 2011 but was never extended beyond Apple's platform.

European users were charged a €5.99 (£4.30) monthly fee, while Canadians and Australians were offered a slightly cheaper rate of 6.99 Canadian dollars (£3.70) and 7.49 Australian dollars (£3.80).

The content provided was distinct from that offered via the UK version, including older shows from the corporation's library in addition to recently broadcast programmes.

In total, more than 2,000 hours of shows were on offer on the global edition of iPlayer, including Gavin and Stacey, Fawlty Towers, Planet Earth and "classic" episodes of Doctor Who.

Users have been notified of the switch-off, and auto-renewing subscriptions are being cancelled.

"We would like to thank all of our subscribers for using the service. We are now developing plans to launch new digital services across multiple devices," reads a statement on BBC Worldwide's site.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.