BBC launches global iPlayer app

Global iPlayer on iPad The global iPlayer will initially only be available as an app for Apple iPads

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The BBC is launching an international version of its on-demand video service, the iPlayer, for Apple iPad users.

Customers who pay a monthly subscription will get access to a range of current and classic programmes.

The app will have one feature not available in the UK - the ability to download content and watch offline.

The project is being run by BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, which said that money earned would help supplement licence-fee income.

Initially, global iPlayer will be available in 11 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

It will cost 6.99 euro per month (£6.14), with the option of an annual subscription priced at 49.99 euro (£44).

According to BBC Worldwide, the international product will look and feel similar to the UK iPlayer, but function in a different way.

Rather than a seven-day catch-up service, it will offer a showcase of BBC shows, old and new. Examples given include Fawlty towers, Only Fools and Horses, Sherlock and Doctor Who.

It is possible that may provoke questions from viewers in the UK who do not have access to older shows.

The domestic iPlayer app for iPad does not offer a download facility, which would allow users to watch programmes when they have no internet connection. However download options are available on desktop and laptop computers in the UK.

The BBC said that the initial roll-out through iPad in a limited number of countries was seen as a pilot for a broader global service.

"We have an exciting vision for what this service could become and will develop it based on feedback from within the markets," said Jana Bennett, president of Worldwide networks and global iPlayer.

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