Playing the Brit hits

BBC preps multi-territory launch for its global iPlayer

The BBC is preparing an ambitious multi-territory launch for its global iPlayer, which will offer best-of-British programming.

The previously announced plan was to roll out the iPlayer as an iPad application in the U.S. this summer.

Speaking exclusively to Variety, Jana Bennett, who became BBC Worldwide’s prexy of worldwide networks and global iPlayer in February, said: “The U.S. is very important to us, but so are other markets.”

She declined to say which markets might be involved in the launch, but BBC Worldwide is increasingly targeting Asia and Europe’s more mature markets, such as Italy.

Bennett stressed that the on-demand application would be fundamentally different from the U.K.’s highly successful iPlayer, a catch-up service for shows that have aired the previous week, which is increasingly being used via tablets and other mobile devices.

She said that with the global iPlayer, “We will not be catching up specifically with a set of channels as we are here (in the U.K.). It will have its own bespoke editorial content.”

Through the player a user will have access to more archive shows because only a fraction of the BBC’s programs have been seen outside the U.K., she said. “We also want to offer more genres than might be on any one international service that exists already.”

Bennett, who helped launch the domestic iPlayer in her previous role as head of BBC Vision, added that final adjustments were being made to the global iPlayer’s “personality and scope.”

Full details about the global iPlayer will be unveiled by June at the latest.

Earlier this month BBC director-general Mark Thompson said the cost of subscribing to the service would be “a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer than 10.”