BBC Worldwide, is set to launch an international version of its popular iPlayer service. This will allow Australian consumers to watch popular BBC shows on their PC and IP enabled TV or via a personal video recorder with an Internet connection. Also set to launch a content service in Australia is US company Netflix who last night cut a deal with Sony and their PS3.
Australian consumers will also be able to listen to BBC Radio using the iPlayer.
Also set to roll out an International content service for TV’s in Australia, is the US movie company Netflix, who on Friday announced a 22% increase in profits and a big increase in the number of people now accessing their content over an Internet connection.
Netflix, has also announced that they have cut a deal with Sony to deliver movie content to the PS3. Xbox 360 users will also have access to the service which could be available in Australia as early as mid 2010.
The new International BBC iPlayer service, will let consumers with an IP enabled TV and the iPlayer to access shows including Torchwood, Doctor Who, and Top Gear , as well as numerous shows from the BBC archives.
International pricing has not been announced.
It is also tipped that the BBC could yank the programs from Apple’s iTunes Store, where they are currently available for $1.99.
The move by the BBC to launch an International version of their iPlayer comes only days after Google cut a deal with the UK Channel 4 to deliver UK programs to their YouTube service.
Luke Bradley Jones, chief of the BBC Worldwide digital operations, said in a statement “Millions of people love Torchwood and would probably pay ten bucks an episode rather than two bucks.”
The BBC said that many of its most popular domestic shows would not be available on the international iPlayer service because of “rights issues.” However, it hinted that it might invite the BBC’s commercial competitors to join the service.
In Australia, several organisations have access to BBC content including Foxtel, the ABC and SBS and free to air commercial channels. However analysts are tipping that a new model could emerge whereby Australian organisations have first run rights for a fee and then the BBC sells direct via their iPlayer service repeats of the show as opposed to Australian content providers providing the service.
In a joint announcement last night both Sony and Netflix said that PlayStation 3 owners will soon be able to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix to their TVs using the gaming console. Xbox 360 owners in the USA have been able to this for more than two years.
Microsoft Australia refuses to explain why the same service is not available to Australian consumers.
Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, said that he is set to expand Netflix’s services into International markets including Australia. The company, who already has deals with Samsung and Panasonic to supply content to their IP enabled TV’s, lifted profits by 48% in the last quarter.
Netflix, who would be a major competitor to Blockbuster and VideoEzy, has expanded their online service to allow subscribers to watch movies on their televisions through TiVo digital-video recorders Microsoft Xbox Live service and Internet- enabled Blu-ray players.
Netflix streaming is already available on a broad range of devices, such as the Roku digital video player, Internet-connected TV sets and Blu-ray players.
On the Xbox, however, the Netflix streaming is available only to Xbox Live “Gold” members, who pay AU$79.95 a year mainly to play games online with friends in other places.