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Global BBC iPlayer app to launch on iPhone, iPod Touch

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Global iPlayer

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BBC Worldwide has today announced that the international version of on-demand platform BBC iPlayer will expand on to Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch this week, as the corporation agrees its first programme acquisition deal for the service.

Global iPlayer, which launched as a subscription-based app for the iPad in the summer, is now available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Subscribers were able to use their iPads to access a range of on-demand BBC content, including new and classic shows such as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, Sherlock and Luther.

On December 8, the pilot subscription service will expand on to the iPhone and iPod Touch in all markets where it is available.

John Smith, the chief executive of the BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, said: "The global BBC iPlayer has seen great growth since the pilot first launched in July - both in terms of geographical expansion and technological developments.

"Moving to iPhone and iPod Touch allows us to take the service to a significant new potential audience and deliver fantastic programme content from the BBC and the UK's creative industry."

Jana Bennett, the former boss of BBC Vision who now heads up Global iPlayer for Worldwide, said that the corporation wants the on-demand platform to reflect the "whole gamut of British creative output" to overseas audiences.

Towards this aim, Worldwide has agreed its first programme acquisition deal for the on-demand service with independent programme distributor DRG.

The DRG deal will mean that a range of programmes shown on Channel 4 will launch on Global iPlayer, including comedies Peep Show, Black Books, Green Wing and Father Ted, along with hit drama Shameless.

These shows will be available to subscribers in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland in January.

In a keynote speech to the Digital TV Summit this morning, Bennett said: "This platform extension shows how Global iPlayer isn't just about moving TV to tablet devices, it's also about a mobile strategy - about truly getting TV everywhere in a way that it hasn't been before.

"We also want the global BBC iPlayer to be truly representative of the whole gamut of British creative output, to represent everything that is great about British content - not just the Best of British TV but the Best of British Culture."

Bennett also today gave a review of the first six months of the Global iPlayer pilot, revealing that on average 75% of subscribers access the app every day.

The survey also indicated that 35% of viewers are watching more than one programme per visit to the iPlayer app, and 25% go on to browse the app after watching a programme, indicating that the corporation is successfully monetising its "long tail of content".

Forthcoming changes to the app include new sections for Music and Arts and Culture, along with the addition of the Something Special show in the Children's category, aimed at preschoolers with learning difficulties. The BBC also intends to introduce selected speech radio shows to Global iPlayer next year.

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