While US viewers continue to wait for the expat-edition Global BBC iPlayer app, BBC Worldwide has announced a new version launching December 8th specifically for iPhones and iPod Touches. Like its big brother app for the iPad, this free download lets subscribers stream or download shows for offline viewing, as well as stream video to the Apple TV via AirPlay. Whole new categories of programming are coming online soon including music, arts and culture, and radio, and now it can all fit in one's pocket. Check the gallery for a couple more screenshots, or after the break for a press release with all the applicable pricing and regional information that's available.
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Global BBC iPlayer app for iPhone, iPod Touch

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BBC Worldwide announces new platforms for global BBC iPlayer trial
Date: 06.12.2011Last updated: 06.12.2011 at 11.40

Category: BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide today announced the arrival of the company's on-demand Global BBC iPlayer trial service on Apple iPhone and Apple iPod Touch which will become available on Thursday 8th December.

Previously available on Apple iPad, the pilot subscription service will now reach millions of new viewers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

John Smith, Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide commented: "The global BBC iPlayer has seen great growth since the pilot first launched in July – both in terms of geographical expansion and technological developments. Moving to iPhone and iPod Touch allows us to take the service to a significant new potential audience and deliver fantastic programme content from the BBC and the UK's creative industry."

In a keynote speech to the Digital TV Summit this morning, Jana Bennett, President Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer, said: "This platform extension shows how Global iPlayer isn't just about moving TV to tablet devices, it's also about a mobile strategy – about truly getting TV everywhere in a way that it hasn't been before. We also want the global BBC iPlayer to be truly representative of the whole gamut of British creative output, to represent everything that is great about British content – not just the Best of British TV but the Best of British Culture."

First programme acquisitions for global BBC iPlayer

During her speech, which for the first time gave a review of the first six months of its pilot, Bennett also confirmed the company's first external programme acquisitions for the global BBC iPlayer. Independent programme distributor DRG will supply a host of iconic British shows to debut on the commercial on-demand service in early 2012, alongside titles from the BBC catalogue.

Describing BBC Worldwide's commercial on-demand service as representing "the Best of British culture", Bennett unveiled a new programme slate from DRG including the multiple award-winning Peep Show (British Comedy Awards; Royal Television Society, Rose d'Or Lucerne); the critically-acclaimed Shameless and the BAFTA award-winning Black Books. Also joining the line up are audience favourites Green Wing and Father Ted. Available from January in some territories*, the new shows will be available to international subscribers of the global BBC iPlayer, alongside titles from the BBC catalogue.

The unprecedented level of editorial curation on the global BBC iPlayer was a major theme of Bennett's address, and she discussed the process of tapping into the world's biggest library of audiovisual content – the BBC catalogue. In reference to this "treasure trove" Bennett reiterated BBC Worldwide's dedication to broadening to the appeal of the global BBC iPlayer through specially created collections of programmes.

To this end, she highlighted a number of other editorial developments for the pilot service:

New genre categories: In January, the genre offering of the global BBC iPlayer will be expanded with two new categories, 'Music' and 'Arts and Culture'. 'Arts and Culture' will be home to classic strands such as Timewatch and Omnibus, as well as contemporary shows like The Narnia Code and The Mathematics of Chaos.
Programme premiere: The addition of Something Special to the Children's category will mark the first time the programme has been seen outside the UK. Fronted by the inimitable Justin Fletcher (Jollywobbles, Gigglebiz), the show is aimed at preschoolers with learning difficulties and offers teachers, parents and carers a range of approaches to develop language and communication skills.
Radio: The global BBC IPlayer is also planning to add selected speech programmes from BBC radio.

In her speech, Bennett shared findings about consumer usage across different markets, and shared BBC Worldwide's own learnings from attempting to monetise a vast programme catalogue. Overturning the Pareto Principle – the theory that suggests it is natural that 80% of one's revenues will stem from the top 20% of one's content – she revealed that:

An unexpected 35% of viewers are watching more than one programme per visit
25% go on to browse the app after watching a programme
On average, 75% of subscribers access the app each day

She said: "VOD promises to break the 80:20 rule by creating availability and visibility of long tail content, enabling consumers to view (and therefore monetise) shows they would otherwise have simply been lying dormant."

Jana Bennett delivered the Digital Keynote address at the Digital TV Summit on Tuesday 6th December, at the Doubletree Hilton in London.

Notes to Editors

* The programmes from DRG will be available to subscribers in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland in January.

The global BBC iPlayer is currently available in 16 markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

BBC Worldwide Press Office