BBC iPlayer makes its way to European iPads

Viewers in 11 European countries can now stream BBC shows to their iPad for a monthly or annual fee, and will be able to watch archive programmes as well as recent broadcasts

Viewers in some European countries can now watch BBC iPlayer shows on the iPad, for a monthly or annual fee.

BBC iPlayer app

Viewers in some European countries can now watch BBC iPlayer shows on the iPad, for a monthly or annual fee. Photo credit: BBC

The video on-demand service, launched by BBC Worldwide on Thursday, is available in 11 countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. It costs €6.99 (£6.11) per month, or €49.99 for an annual subscription.

"This launch is an important route to market in our strategy of pursuing multiple platforms for our programmes and brands, taking British programmes to new digital audiences around the world," John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said in a statement.

Unlike the domestic iPlayer service, the global app allows people to access archived BBC material as well as programmes broadcast in the last seven days. The archive includes shows such as Fawlty Towers and Pride and Prejudice, as well as a collection on the story of the Royal Family.

People can stream TV shows over 3G or Wi-Fi, or they can download them to their iPad for offline playback. By comparison, the UK mobile iPlayer for Android only streams over Wi-Fi.

The global app is available on the iPad only and can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store.

The launch is the first phase of a pilot programme that will eventually see the service introduced in the US. BBC Worldwide does not have a date set for the next stage, the company told ZDNet UK.

"We have an exciting vision for what this service could become and will develop it based on feedback from within the markets," Jana Bennett, BBC Worldwide's president of worldwide networks and global iPlayer, said in the statement.

On Wednesday, ITV announced plans to test out charging to view some content via its ITV Player on-demand service. The charges would apply to webisodes and other unaired content, but not to catch-up viewing of previously aired TV content, the broadcaster told ZDNet UK's sister site CNET UK.

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