FINALLY! A major TV broadcaster is getting with the times and realizes that we live in a global community now; I’m amazed that it’s the BBC no less. For years I have had to jump through numerous hoops to get access to some of the programming I want to see. When I first started getting into UK television, I continued my use of bittorrent, a less than legal peer to peer sharing platform. I already use it for anime episodes that have not been released over here, so I figured “why not?” My conscience later got the best of me, and I started buying DVDs straight from overseas for use on my swanky regionless DVD player. This meant I had to be patient, and hope thing actually got released on DVD. When I heard about BBC iPlayer, I hoped that we would at some point gain access to its treasure trove of first run goodness, and it seems like that day is coming. I guess BBC finally realized that people were paying stupid amounts of money to buy virtual private network accounts in order to stream the content overseas, and in this economy any revenue stream is a good revenue stream. If folks are willing to pay for international TV, why not give in.
While I get my Doctor Who fix, and a host of other shows on BBC America, the right programming may lead me to plop down the money for this service. Right now there are two stumbling blocks, this service is currently only available in western Europe, and it’s only for IOS devices such as the iPad. Hopefully it gets a wider release as this Wikipedia article suggests:
“BBC TV productions are paid for by the UK television licence fee and rights agreements with third parties. Thus, all BBC iPlayer TV programmes are accessible from IP addresses allocated to the UK only, as of 2011. It has been reported that many people outside the UK circumvent that rule by buying a virtual private network account with an IP address located in the UK.
However, most radio programmes can be accessed globally, with the exception of a few programmes, mainly sports broadcasts, that are affected by rights issues. One quirk is that mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch cannot access radio overseas via BBC iPlayer whereas computers can.
An international version of the iPlayer was launched on 28 July 2011 in eleven western European countries, after receiving the approval of the BBC Trust in November 2010. The international iPlayer takes the form of an iPad application which offers a limited amount of content for free, supported by pre-roll ads and sponsorship, but its core business model is subscription. The global iPlayer app includes some features that are not in the UK version, including the ability to stream shows over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, and a downloading feature to store programmes on the iPad for offline viewing. At launch 1,500 hours of content was made available, of which 60% had been produced and commissioned by the BBC, while 30% had been commissioned by the BBC but produced by independents. The other 10% was entirely non-BBC content, including ITV’s Primeval, and Channel 4′s The Naked Chef and Misfits. Launches in the US, Canada and Australia will follow later 2011, as part of what is intended to be a one-year pilot.”