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BBC to bring iPlayer content to US iPad owners

US iPad owners will soon be able to stream BBC iPlayer content to their devices on a subscription basis as part of the BBC's plan to take the iPlayer service worldwide.The US iPad app will be the first stage in the BBC's plan to take the subscription-subsidised service to a global audience, according to comments made by BBC managing director Luke Bradley-Jones on Wednesday.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

US iPad owners will soon be able to stream BBC iPlayer content to their devices on a subscription basis as part of the BBC's plan to take the iPlayer service worldwide.

The US iPad app will be the first stage in the BBC's plan to take the subscription-subsidised service to a global audience, according to comments made by BBC managing director Luke Bradley-Jones on Wednesday.

The new offering will bring popular BBC content such as Doctor Who and Top Gear to devices in the US and other countries where it had previously not been possible due to licensing restrictions, according to the report on PaidContent.com.

Bradley-Jones announced the plans at the Digital TV Summit saying that the move was "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".

Pricing details or an exact arrival date were not revealed for the US but Bradley-Jones hinted that in the future it could move towards a "hybrid business model" that would include pay-per view, subscriptions and one-off download fees for content that customers want to keep indefinitely.

October saw UK-based requests for the iPlayer service exceed previous records, serving a total of 139 million programmes on computers, televisions and mobile devices. In October 2009, the iPlayer received 70 million programme requests.

The BBC Worldwide iPlayer service could face competition from other VoD services such as Hulu — the US video-on-demand (VoD) service owned by NBC, ABC and Fox, among others — which is currently restricted to users in North America but has plans to extend internationally to fulfil the "unmet need" for global VoD, according to an interview given by company executives to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

On 11 November the BBC announced in a joint statement with BT that it will bring the iPlayer service to BT Vision customers over the course of the next five months.

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