BBC iPlayer Should Work For Brits Abroad, Global Version ‘Within A Year’

BBC director-general Mark Thompson has committed the corporation to making its iPlayer VOD service available to UK license payers whilst traveling overseas.

In his MacTaggart Lecture to the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Thompson said people like servicemen should be able “to use a UK version of the iPlayer wherever they are in the world“.

The multi-platform iPlayer serves BBC TV and radio shows from the last seven days and has popularised UK time-shifting, taking 114 million programme requests in July. But, to stay within the rights agreed with independent producers, who want to commercialise their productions themselves outside of the BBC’s seven-day window, the service is geo-blocked to work only for UK users.

Some boundary-hopping users have grumbled about this, but the grumbles have been muted. Thompson likely sees the extension as enhancing value for license payers.

It’s unclear whether new terms will need to be inked with producers for this; the policy director for producers’ trade group Pact told paidContent:UK it was too early to tell because it hasn’t yet seen the BBC’s proposal. Independent TV producers’ trade group tells paidContent:UK Thompson’s idea has not been agreed with industry and it will oppose the plan. But Thompson said: “It