back to article US iPad to get BBC pay app - with 'handcrafted British feel'

The US, followed by the rest of the world, will be offered the pleasure of paying for BBC content when the broadcaster launches a subscription-based application for the iPad next year. The US is likely to get its hands on the app first, some time in the middle of next year. If successful, BBC Worldwide - the broadcaster's …


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  1. dotdavid


    "He said Apple's fondleslab "also maps pretty nicely on to our core target audience for the service". "

    What, rich people?

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Not rich people

      Not rich people, "kids aged between six and 12" apparently:

  2. Code Monkey
    Thumb Up

    Good thinking Auntie

    Win win. Overseas types get our top quailty programming (and BBC3), Auntie gets some cash, slabfondlers get something useful (though non-fondlers can still BitTorrent the more popular shows).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      with a bit of luck

      they'll make enough money worldwide that the bloody TV tax can be abolished...

  3. Snowy Silver badge

    I hope...

    this is the first step and they will allow other devices to do this, like Xbox and PS. If netflix can I'm sure the BBC should be able to.

    1. squilookle

      Other devices

      iPlayer is already on other devices in the UK. (I frequently use it on my Wii, and occasionally on my G1, although I don't believe the Android app I have is developed by the BBC), so I don't see why they can't extend this to other devices too.

      Of course, not sure how similar this is going to be to iPlayer or how these other platforms stand with regards to handling payments. But it's certainly possible, anyway.

    2. Fuzzysteve

      nah. no title.

      It'd be odd, if people outside the uk could get the bbc on the xbox, and us Brits can't.

      Iplayer's on the PS3, but apparently it would only be on the xbox, if you had gold. and they're not allowed to do that, or something.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Made by a surly, brown-toothed man in a cloth cap?

    More like a tracksuit clad, baseball cap wearing ne'er-do-well giving you the universal British Whodoufinkuislookinat greeting of the average British town.

    1. asdf

      the yank audience learning.

      What we call TPT (trailer park trash) and ghetto thugs, you all call chavs.

  5. Michael Hawkes
    Thumb Up

    I'm ready

    I'm ready for the app, which means I'm also ready for the self-inflicted license fee, though I hope it doesn't cost that much.

    1. Paul Durrant

      UK Licence fee $225 or so per annum

      My BBC licence fee costs the equivalent of $225/year. It will be interesting to see what the US iPad app subscription costs and gives viewers.

      1. Efros

        No licence fee

        But my cable (basic no premium channels) costs about $60 a month ($720 a year), with phone and internet it comes in at $194 a month. I'd rather pay $225 a year, I'd even watch BBC3, be better than the ad laden mindless drivel that we get here.

        1. The Messiah by Handel

          No license fee

          You Yanks don't get the exquisite displeasure of paying a license fee for the priviledge of having a telly in your home. Brits and the Irish (and a few others) pay the fee and THEN pay for cable or satellite, or pay the fee to enjoy over the air broadcasting. Here in Ireland, it's a cool €160/year to get RTE's family of channels complete with adverts threatening fines for failing to pay The Man.

      2. Mark 65

        @Paul Durrent: A lot less I would hope

        When people don't really have a choice - I doubt the majority know how to/can be arsed using time-shifted versus realtime viewing - you can really stick it up them. When you have to tempt them in the face of bittorrent availability pricing *should be* more competitive. Brits get rooted, rest of us can pick and choose.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    Must rush out and get a Fonleslab so I can pay to watch 'Strictly Come Dancing' and other examples of quality TV on a small screen.

    Time to bin my VPN subscription - it'll pay for the slab in 8 years. Flog the TV to pay the Beeb.

    I can't wait.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    No chance

    This will compete directly with Apple's service so will never make it into the app store, sorry Beeb you will be pwned by the Almighty Jobs.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, users outside of the UK can download and 'own', presumably no drm timeouts content? Since as a UK resident I have already paid my subscriptions for this content in the form of my licence fee I assume I will also be able to download the same content and 'own' it at no additional cost?

  9. Al Jones

    "We're quite bullish about what we can charge"

    What, if they've got an iPad, they must have more money than sense?

    Last time I checked, there were slightly more laptops and PCs than iPads out there (though maybe by the time they release the app, that won't be the case any more). So why restrict this to the iPad? Is it really all about the payment mechanism, the "iTunes ecosystem"?

  10. R Cox

    'We're quite bullish about what we can charge'

    This is what keeps me from paying for BBC content. They are quite bullish about raking in the bucks from americans. Shows like Lovejoy and Alll Creatures Great and Small run three times per episode what equivalent US shows would cost. The only US show that continues to demand the same payment as BBC shows is the Star Trek franchises. I am not one to complain about price, but when the market says $1-2 an episode, and you ar the $3-4, there is something amiss in pricing.


    Hulu Plus is $10 a month, as well is Netflix. One can buy many shows, for instance MI-5, for $2 an episode, but these are long delayed(here we are on season 8), which is a far cry from the $30-40 a season BBC once demanded. I hope we will see a price closer to $10 a month rather than one set in an orgy of bullishness.

  11. bexley

    what about android, and windows phone 7 or whatever it's called?

    I'm quite sure that the BBC are not allowed to be platform specific, few remember that iplayer when it first came out used a propprietry codec that eliminated linux and osx users, if they are releasing an Ipad app (and why not) then they need to make one for android and the other one that no body will use, windows.

  12. spegru

    leading the way

    towards a replacement for the licence fee

    I would have been against that at one time. Now, I'm not so sure.....

  13. Matt Piechota


    How are they going to get the iPad to leave a little oil spot whenever I set it down?

  14. Petrea Mitchell

    Modified rapture

    The only two questions I have left are:

    1. When will this be rolled out for a device I actually own?

    2. What will be the delay between the first airing of a show in the UK and its release to the rest of the world?

  15. Tom Chiverton 1


    BBC promise to do something, somewhen ? Wake me when there is real news...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quality British Engineering?

    After his MGB my father always said that "quality British engineering" was an oxymoron.

  17. Heathroi


    Now I'll be able to watch 5, 6, 7 years old episodes of top gear, doctor who, star trek(?????) King Arthur, and the graham Norton Show on a potential ipad just like on BBC America on cable. Still better than the rest of the rubbish on.

  18. Charles Manning

    iPad with "Blighty feel"

    Leaks oil.

    Wont start in winter.

    Overheats in summer.

    Corners like a Reliant Robin.

    1. Nigel R Silver badge

      corners like a good 'un actually

      The Reliant van of my student days cornered stunningly - esp with a sack of cement on the rear floor

  19. rc

    'handcrafted British feel'

    How do they get a gutless motor and a dodgy electrical system into a fondleslab app? -Just kidding, Y'all put down the longbows...

    I'm annoyed that they copied 'Top Gear' over here, instead of just broadcasting the real deal. It's like eating a plastic banana. It just isn't the same without Jeremy, James, and Hamster... It seems like there should be a way to trade shows between countries. Is it so hard to measure a given demographic, swap shows, throw in your own region relevant ads, and make some money?

  20. Herby

    But I already get BBC America

    Included in my DirecTV package. It works wonderfully. I can even record it on my TiVo.

    Works wonderful for TopGear and Law & Order UK.

    No iPad needed, nor a subscription fee.

    1. Petrea Mitchell

      It's not the same

      I don't know what version of BBC America you have, but mine requires me to pay for basic cable or satellite to get it, and I sometimes have to wait over a year after a Top Gear episode first airs in the UK to see it over here, plus I only get to see about two-thirds of it. (Did you know that in the UK, it's a full hour without commercials?)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Licence fee..

    If it's cheaper than the license fee there will be trouble... If the BBC makes money and does not reduce the licence fee there will be trouble also..

    So it must be the same price (or more) as the Licence fee - the BBC's remit is to provide to the UK so it must provide these as a priority, and crucially cost effectivly. This means that it cannot provide other service to others at better cost levels, as this is against its most cost effictive to the UK remit.

    Additionally the extra income will stay within the Beeb as it is non profit, hence it will have more money, consequently it will be in no position to make demands on the public purse. so should not be granted an increase in the licence fee, so if it reamins static the public will see an effective year on year reduction (by inflation) and if a serious amount of money is raised from oversees interest we may actually see a real reduction in licence fee.

    1. Petrea Mitchell

      Depends how you measure it

      Under the $225/year for the license fee quoted in another comment, one hour of available programming works out to about $0.0004. If I just watch one show via this new global arrangement, the price may come out to less than what you're paying for full access, but it's sure as heck going to be more than 1/25th of a cent per episode.

  22. Anne Frank

    why iPlayer isn't available on the X360/PS3

    with regards to the comments made about why iPlayer isn't available on other devices, that's to do with the terms laid out by Sony and Microsoft

    The BBC would happily put iPlayer onto Xbox Live, as long as it's free for all users (not just Gold accounts) and as long as there is no Microsoft/Xbox branding on it - Micro$oft said no to the requirement that it must be free for every user so the BBC can't go with Micro$oft's terms because it prevents Silver accounts from accessing the iPlayer service because M$ wanted it only for the Premium Gold account users (this is a legal issue because iPlayer's funded via the TVL, so must to be free for every user)

    As for the PS3, Sony won't allow it onto the PS3 without some kind of Sony branding, this in itself brings numerous legal headaches about advertising used in conjunction with BBC branding, so the BBC are stuck with just the Wii because Nintendo were happy to let them do what they asked for and let them get on with it

    If anyone wants to point the finger of blame at why iPlayer isn't available on all consoles... blame Sony & Microsoft because they're the ones preventing the BBC from adding iPlayer to their consoles because they're asking for something the BBC cannot legally agree to

    1. durandal

      iPlayer is available on the ps3

      I'm looking at it now.

      Exactly the same branding as the other iplayer applications.

      1. Anne Frank

        is that the legit iPlayer

        or the one which some bloke coded himself, and then got a job offer from the BBC as a result?

        1. durandal

          The one distributed

          by Sony. As part of a system update.

          Whether sony coded it, or whether the BBC coded it, or whether it was bought with cash from some bloke in a shady development house and sneaked into the final firmware build is neither here nor there.

          I would suspect a bigger reason why iPlayer isn't available on the 360 as well is because of the Sky offering, and I suspect good money has changed hands to ensure that a competing service isn't available in the short term.

        2. Rob Beard

          iPlayer on PS3

          I've had the official iPlayer on the PS3 since I got it in December 2009, basically it's an iPlayer icon which opens the PS3 browser on the BBC iPlayer site, but the iPlayer site detects it is a PS3 browser and re-sizes things accordingly.

          It's not great but it works.

          I've also got the LoveFilm player which is a nice little app, well looks pretty (and it appears to be a native app rather than a web page running in the PS3 browser) but the streaming leaves a lot to be desired (poor quality).

          I dare say the Beeb could get away with having this new player on all the different consoles, TVs, Bluray players etc outside the UK as they charge for the content, heck I dare say they could get away with a Sky Player equivalent for XBOX Live Gold members outside the UK.


    2. McToo

      You're wrong....

      BBC IPlayer is available on the PS3.

    3. thesykes

      Errr... no

      the PS3 has had non-Sony branded iPlayer for a long time now, works well and is better than trying to watch it on a phone or laptop.

    4. thesykes

      definitely legit

    5. juice

      Half right...

      You got the bit about the Xbox 360 right: Microsoft will only allow Gold users to access "premium" content such as BBC iPlayer (and others such as Twitter, Facebook,, etc). But this clashes with the "free for all UK users" requirements of the BBC. So, there isn't going to be an Xbox iPlayer until Microsoft changes it's mind.

      However, the PS3 has full access to a fully sanctioned version of the BBC iPlayer - admittedly, unlike the Wii's iPlayer, the PS3 just uses a mildly customised HTML front end which is presented via it's built-in web-browser - but hey, it works...

  23. Rob Davis
    Thumb Up

    And ITV? launch ipad app after selling to Apple, cash to rebrand ITV as global broadcaster

    And what about ITV? They should do the same: they've attracted much criticism aiming for the lowest common denominator but in my opinion they are up there if not lead in drama (Inspector Morse, Cracker, Darling Buds of May, Jeeves and Wooster, Downton Abbey, Frost, TheBill, Coronation Street, Heartbeat - yes laugh but like it or not these are exportable brands) and have been a platform launching some great game show formats (Millionaire), used to have a great arts show (South Bank) , great reality TV (X factor, Celebrity)...

    ITV should sell to Apple for billons, rebrand as a global brand "UKTV"? And launch an iPad app to be inline with their subscription model in years to come.

    Outside of the UK domestic market who knows

    Maybe a joint venture marketing campaign in partnership with Apple. After all, Apple are raving about being able to sell the Beatles material on iTunes now, another great British brand and Apple would have great experience from this episode in dealing with Intellectual Property and concurrent branding (Apple Corp vs Apple Computer)...

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