The BBC iPlayer service allows UK residents to catch up on BBC programs using a computer or mobile app. Clearly, people outside of Britain would love to be able to watch recent episodes of Doctor Who, Top Gear, and other shows online, but since the BBC is funded by UK residents, it’s a bit tricky. There’s been talk for a while about the launch of an international version which would either user advertising or a subscription fee to help fund domestic programming. Now it looks like the first international iPlayer product is on its way.
PaidContent and Broadcast report that the BBC will launch a subscription-based service. At first, only an iPad app will be available, but the iPlayer service will likely expand to other platforms eventually.
Some BBC content is already available online, either through a Netflix subscription, or from video download stores such as iTunes or Amazon VOD.
There’s no word on how much a subscription will cost. It’s expected to launch in the first half of 2011.
At the same time as the BBC is looking to expand globally, the US-based online media company Hulu is hoping to do the same. Right now Hulu streams recent episodes of TV shows from major networks including NBC, Fox, and ABC. But the content is only available in the US.