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Global iPlayer closure date announced

UK TV ABROAD | The BBC is closing its Global iPlayer service next month, which provided viewers in parts of Europe plus Australia and Canada with new and archive BBC programmes.

The service, operated by the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, was subject to a monthly subscription fee, and was only available on Apple's iOS platform for iPhones and iPads and was unable to launch in the USA due to protests from cable providers who, according to reports, threatened to drop BBC America if the service had been launched in the country.

Global iPlayer will close on 26th June 2015. BBC Worldwide has not yet said what arrangements will apply, if any, to international viewers wanting to subscribe to BBC content on-demand beyond June, although in 2013, it said that it would look at making video-on-demand via the main international website.

Original plans for the Global iPlayer faced criticism from the anti-BBC press in the UK, with the Daily Mail objecting in 2013 to international viewers having access to BBC content for less money per year than the UK licence fee, although the Global iPlayer would have only offered a much limited amount of content compared to UK iPlayer, mainly due to rights issues. It would not have offered live TV streams, nor any sport, movies or imported shows screened on BBC TV in the UK, for which the BBC does not have international rights, and would have only carried a reduced number of programmes compared to the UK iPlayer. Shortly after, BBC Worldwide signalled it would not be continuing to develop the service.

Earlier this month, the European Commission proposed plans that could lead to changes in copyright laws that may lead to the UK iPlayer becoming available to holidaymakers and residents in other EU countries and similar services, such as Ireland's RTÉ Player becoming fully available in the UK. However whether that materialises is likely to be subject to the outcome of the EU referendum.


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