BBC programmes will become available to viewers in 11 European countries via the iPad for just €6.99 per month. The programmes will be sold by the commercial arm of the BBC, known as BBC Worldwide, which is a private company selling subsidised UK programming funded by the license payer to broadcasting companies abroad. BBC Worldwide had revenues of over £1 billion in 2010.
The video on demand app will be made available in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
BBC programs and films to be sold in Europe via the new app include:
- Fawlty Towers
- Only Fools & Horses
- Pride and Prejudice
- Recent episodes of EastEnders
- Top Gear
- Doctor Who
- Charlie & Lola
According to the commercial arms of the UK’s national broadcaster, “hours of new programming will be added to the service every week, along with… collections curated from the BBC’s extensive archive, including David Attenborough and the story of the Royal Family”.
The app will also allow iPad users to download the shows in case they go out of wifi range.
Sales of UK programmes on the open market represent a significant alternative income stream for the BBC, which has had questions raised over the future of the licence fee since the advent of online streamed TV and video on demand. The broadcaster has remained unscathed by the competition issues created by the NewsCorp bid for BSkyB and the ensuing phone hacking scandal.