Sitting here in my living room in the UK, I’m continually frustrated by the fact that there is so much great US TV available at this time of year, and we get to see precisely none of it until the Spring. New season of Chuck? Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire? Yep, I’ll take a ticket and join the queue – just no spoilers in the comments, okay?
Still, I guess we get to see great British TV programmes ahead of our North American cousins like Top Gear, Sherlock Holmes and… erm, did I say Top Gear, and if we miss them live, we can call upon the trusty BBC iPlayer, the fabulous streaming video app from the Beeb which delivers the last 7 days of TV and radio programming from the network on multiple devices, whenever you please.
Right now, it’s only available here in the UK and since launch in October 2005, it has taken the country by storm. Unlike commercial subscription services like Hulu and Netflix, it’s fully funded by the UK TV Licence Fee, so is free for all with a broadband connection. How popular? Well, current estimates suggest there are around 63 million people clinging to this rock, and BBC iPlayer serves up around 123 million streams. A month.
The great news is that according to Engadget, BBC iPlayer may well be venturing outside these shores, without the need for a dubious UK-based VPN. A report in the Daily Telegraph suggests that the BBC are prepping iPlayer to go global, and are considering both subscription and ad-supported business models. The bad news is the broadsheet believes you could be paying up to $10 per episode for your fix of Doctor Who next year. Still, if you’ve gotta have it, you’ve gotta have it.
Now, if we’re prepared to share our best video on demand service with you guys on the left siode of the pond, how about cutting us Brits a similar break?