Global BBC iPlayer to shut down this month
James R | On 13, May 2015
The BBC will shut down its global BBC iPlayer at the end of this month.
The move, which was announced on Twitter yesterday by the service’s official account, comes four years after global iPlayer first launched. The site is designed to offer BBC content to countries outside of the UK, with its streams stretching to 16 countries in total, including Canada.
BBC iPlayer (Global) will be closing permanently between 26th May & 26th June 2015. For more info check http://t.co/2FmyWZ0Xcc
— BBC iPlayer (Global) (@BBCiPlayerGLBL) May 12, 2015
The site is a subscription-based platform, but with BBC shows being increasingly snapped up by international broadcasters and others, such as Fox, lined up for US remakes, the decision could be seen as a logical step for the Beeb. In fact, though, it was made several years ago, when the BBC Worldwide chief Tim Davie first announced that global iPlayer will be integrated into BBC.com instead.
“It is purely a branding question: if you want content you go to BBC.com,” he said. “It has been too fragmented and [globally] it is a ferocious market dominated by US and Asian players – like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon – and we have to have scale and a real competitive edge.”
Indeed, the BBC aims to double its global reach from 250 million (in 2013) to 500 million per week by 2022, primarily by bringing together the BBC commercial online offerings into a single destination, which will include a long-form video player – in 2013, when these plans were first outlined, the BBC confirmed that it would not extend global iPlayer to any more markets.
This centralised focus will lead to the launch of BBC Store, a new commercial service, which will give UK consumers the chance to buy, watch and keep a selection of BBC programmes. An international version is in the pipeline, allowing global consumers to buy, watch and keep programmes as well.
On home soil, meanwhile, the BBC continues its plans to turn BBC iPlayer into more than just a catch-up TV service.