BBC Begins iPlayer International Roll Out

The eagerly anticipated worldwide release of the BBC’s iPlayer iPad app has arrived, but if you’re outside a selection of 11 countries, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

The app, which will need an accompanying subscription, is currently available in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, with the United States being added later in the year.

As with so many things, licensing is being blamed for the delay in bringing Dr Who and co. to the States…

In order to take advantage of iPlayer internationally, users will need to fork out either €6.99 a month or €49.99 a year (about $10/month or $70/year), which allows unlimited streaming and downloading of video, while ads and other payment models may be mixed in for good measure. The Beeb does say that subscriptions are its main gig, however.

Despite being called a “pilot program,” the service will sport 1,500 hours of content from the get-go, with more being added at a rate of knots each week. Entire seasons of Dr Who, Top Gear and more will be available at the touch of a button, according to The Guardian.

The international release of iPlayer also has a trick up its sleeve that the UK version does not – 3G playback and downloading of video for offline playback. Due to the two apps being developed by two separate teams however, the guys behind the international release could not say whether these features would be migrated over.

BBC managing director Luke Bradley-Jones was at pains to point out that iPlayer was not launching as a competitor to existing powerhouses like Netflix and Hulu, but to compliment them.

“What we’re trying to test in the pilot is the ability to drive exploration and discovery through a programming approach rather than an algorithm-based approach,” said Bradley-Jones. “We’re not trying to compete against a Netflix or a Hulu. This has to be tailored and hand-crafted, so we can create a tone of voice.”

There are currently no details on pricing for when the app find its way to the US, Canada, or any of the other countries left out.

Will you be ponying up the cash to watch the Dr Who back catalog?