The BBC’s popular online catch-up service, BBC iPlayer, has continued to grow. It now encompasses several countries outside the UK. The product is clearly aimed predominantly at the British expat market, but local viewers can benefit too.
Expat Marketing has been speaking to Matilda Douridas, marketing manager at the BBC, to learn more about the expanding service.
Matilda, what criteria were you looking at when choosing the countries in which to launch the iPlayer service?
The global service was originally tested as a pilot project through Apple’s iTunes so the countries were selected on a basis of where iTunes is available. That way, users could download the programme through iTunes onto their respective device, namely an iPad or iPhone.
How have you marketed this to expats abroad? What media did you use?
The UK service is actually very popular for British people looking for British content, and its awareness among expats as well helped our global product.
The original pilot project was never fully marketed and it simply relied on Press media generated from the launch, iTunes store promotion and from search engines. The minimal advertising was primarily done on digital media. The BBC as a globally recognised brand, which helps the image of the product, however you can expect to see a more complete advertising launch for the service in future.
How are you tackling the issue of IP changing sites (downloadable programs that trick computers into thinking they are based in the UK) are there incentives for viewers to subscribe, for example, can you insure the quality is better?
We have found if viewers are presented with a legal service with a superior quality, they will choose it above an inferior yet cheaper service.
We can generally rely on our superior service to draw viewers to pay the subscription fee. The viewer doesn’t recieve a good viewing experience when illegally streaming or changing IP addresses.
Is there any way an identical version of the UK iplayer could be available to global viewers?
The iPlayer abroad service has proved extremely successful and popular, not just with British expats but also for viewers seeking British television abroad. However, due to varying copyright laws that are out of our control, we cannot provide a UK BBC service, worldwide. Perhaps if a deal was made between different viewing territories, a UK iPlayer service could be possible. But for the near future, a deal seems unlikely.