BBC iPlayer to Go International on Connected TV and Tablets

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Reversing an earlier decision, which called for a slowdown in plans, the BBC has decided to go ahead and roll out a free based iPlayer TV application around news on connected TVs.Plans for an ad-supported, fully fledged iPlayer are also in the pipeline from BBC Worldwide.

According to William Cooper at Informitv, it will be followed by  a global version of the iPlayer, initially available on the iPad in Europe for a monthly fee.

“Internet-connected TV is developing as a medium and presents an exciting and engaging complement to our existing TV services,” explained Phil Fearnley, the general manager for news and knowledge in the BBC future media department. “Looking forward, we are particularly interested in creating seamless, personalised, and location-aware experiences of BBC News across all connected devices — mobiles, tablets, computers and TVs.”

“Although the connected TV market is still in its infancy and the medium is not yet a mainstream proposition, our plan is to build on this initial launch with Samsung and we’re looking to work with other manufacturers to bring our product to their platforms as quickly as possible — technically, as it’s built in HTML, it can be re-purposed simply for a wide range of different operating systems and devices.”

Shows such as Doctor Who and Fawlty Towers will be made available for a monthly subscription of less than €8.

From the Guardian:

Jana Bennett – the former BBC Vision director now working at the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, as its president of worldwide networks and global iPlayer – will tell the Banff World Television Festival on Tuesday that the international version of the online video player will be "a different proposition" from its British equivalent, which showcases recent catch-up content only.

She will add that "the freedom from catchup means that we've got a lot more flexibility in terms of what we put on there and how we present it", with the BBC aiming to put together collections of programmes covering genres such as music, comedy, documentaries and natural history. As a result some familiar programmes which do not fit into this theme, such as EastEnders, are unlikely to be available.

The BBC last Friday launched its BBC News product for connected TV - which will bring video news clips via the web to living-room TV screens and combines existing video and text content from BBC News Online. It will initially be made available on Samsung’s range of Smart TVs and will subsequently roll out on other CE Smart TV platforms over time.

The launch aims to tap into the growing internet-connected TV market, with predictions that almost 36 million TVs with built-in internet capability will be installed in UK homes by the end of 2016. The BBC News product for connected TV has been designed as a complement to the BBC’s live 24-hour news channel. Editorial teams in the newsrooms will curate clips around the clock to run alongside text-based news from BBC News Online – all started, stopped, and navigated via the remote control. The BBC News product for connected TV will be available free of charge.


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