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BBC to close global version of iPlayer next month

Friday, May 15th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The global version of BBC iPlayer is to close next month.

Viewers in Western Europe, Australia and Canada have been able to watch programmes via the app, which was launched in 2011, for a subscription fee.

But BBC Worldwide, which runs the service, has announced it will close permanently by 26 June.

The subscription-free UK version of the iPlayer is unaffected.

A statement from the Global iPlayer team said all subscriptions will be honoured in full and users have until the day their term finishes to watch any downloaded programmes.

“We would like to thank all of our subscribers for using the service. We are now developing plans to launch new digital services across multiple devices,” it said.

The service offered viewers classic BBC shows such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and Gavin and Stacey as well as recently broadcast programmes.

Cable.co.uk reported earlier this month that new EU rules could make the iPlayer available across Europe to UK citizens.

The European Commission made a number of suggestions as part of its Digital Single Market strategy including modernising European copyright law with the aim of improving people’s access to “cultural content online”.

'Travelling'

The commission said it particularly wants to ensure “that users who buy films, music or articles at home can also enjoy them while travelling across Europe”.

Usage statistics for Global iPlayer have not been released, but the UK version has had a record-breaking year.

The service saw 3.5bn TV and radio programme requests in 2014.

Throughout March 2015, there were a total of 255m requests to iPlayer – 57m requests a week on average – according to a monthly performance report.

The number of requests made via computers was 68m, the highest since March 2014.

90% of the requests to iPlayer in March were for on demand content. The percentage of on demand requests compared to live requests has remained steady for the past 12 months.

The last two episodes of Top Gear delivered more than 3.6m requests between them, with The Voice and Poldark also proving popular with viewers.

The BBC said some TV data was not captured in March and estimates that around 6m requests from TV platforms, such as Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and BT Vision, are missing from its figures.

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