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BBC iPlayer to bow in U.S. on iPad

Users outside U.K. to pay monthly subscription fee

Global iPlayer, the international version of the BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service, is set to bow in the U.S. and other targeted territories next year — putting it in direct competition with Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Stateside, the subscription service will debut as an iPad app before being rolled out on other platforms.

Speaking at the Digital TV Summit, held in London, Luke Bradley-Jones, managing director of BBC.com, said: “We’re going to adopt a paid subscription model 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.”

The content will be based around the “best of British,” including such fare as “Doctor Who.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday BBC Worldwide confirmed rumors that it has tapped BBC Vision topper Jana Bennett for the new role of prexy of worldwide networks and Global iPlayer.

Bennett will oversee BBC-branded international channels, including BBC America, and its 50% stake in local pay TV operation UKTV and she will oversee the launch of the Global iPlayer.

Bennett was born in the U.S. and worked briefly at Discovery in Washington D.C. but is very much a BBC stalwart.

She is highly regarded for managing the pubcaster’s main domestic channels BBC1, 2, 3 and 4, a job that includes hiring the channel controllers, in a very challenging media landscape.

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