The long-awaited international version of the BBC iPlayer will finally make its debut next year, according to John Smith, chief executive, BBC Worldwide.
Writing in the Telegraph, Smith said that internet delivered television represented a means of creating “locally flavoured” direct routes to the consumer that also included linear channels such as BBC America.
“Not only will that mean international fans of, for example, Doctor Who can get their fix legitimately (rather than downloading programmes illegally), but it has the potential of opening up a new revenue stream for the entire UK production industry, alongside sales to traditional broadcasters,” wrote Smith.
The BBC-produced motoring magazine Top Gear is consistently in the top 10 of most illegally downloaded programmes, particularly in the United States.
BBC Worldwide has had a presence on YouTube since 2007 through an entertainment channel, also called BBC Worldwide, and the factual channel Explore. BBC World News is also available as are and language versions in Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Persian and Urdu.
A global iPlayer was first mooted in 2007, when it formed a part of BBC Worldwide’s objective for a commercial iPlayer, with proposed launches in the UK, United States and Australia.