MEX Notes: BBC iPlayer goes global with iPad app launch in 11 countries

  • BBC iPlayer goes global with iPad app launch in 11 countries – The BBC's iPlayer is much admired outside the UK and iPad users worldwide will welcome the arrival of a dedicated application. High quality television programming has long been one of the UK's best exports and the EUR 6.99 monthly subscription fee offers good value. However, it is surprising to see the BBC focusing on an application as the initial delivery mechanism, especially at a time when iPlayer in the UK is increasingly accessed through browsers. For instance, UK users can tap into iPlayer from the browser of their Symbian smartphone, iPhone, iPad or desktop PC – no download required, just one click on a bookmark. Why then is the first international version limiting delivery to an iPad app? All the back-end infrastructure is already in place to deliver this content to multiple platforms through a browser. The explanation lies in convenience of payment and subscription management. For all that has been said about Apple's payment policies, users simply find it easier to pay via the official app payment mechanism. This is something which can and must change over time; browser-based payment mechanisms for both subscription and one-off purchases will become easier to use and proliferate as more service owners choose payment platforms which allow revenues to be collected across multiple touch points.

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