International BBC iPlayer iPad app to hit App Store

The international version of the BBC iPlayer has finally landed, via a dedicated iPad app, ending months of speculation as to what exactly the global platform of the hugely successful video on demand platform may entail.

Back in December last year Pocket-lint told you how the BBC had global plans for its flagship VOD vessel and then in March, speaking at the FT Digital Media & Broadcasting conference in London, BBC director general Mark Thompson said that the international version of its iPad-based catch-up service will launch "definitely this year" and will cost "fewer than $10" per month.

And Thompson looks to have been true to his word, with 11 European countries selected for the "pilot" iPad-based scheme, with a price of €6.99 per month, or €49.99 for a year. There is also some ad-supported free content too.

And there are a couple of nifty features that us Brits (Auntie's nieces and nephews) don't even have access to with our iPad iPlayer app - such as 3G streaming and downloading of an extensive back catalogue of the Beeb's TV gold such as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and Doctor Who. There is also going to be content from non-BBC shows from ITV and Channel 4, with shows sorted by genre rather than channel.

"We think this should be about the best of the BBC and British creativity," said Jana Bennett, president of worldwide networks at the group. "This is a pilot - we want to learn more about on-demand behaviour." Bennett also hinted that the international iPlayer app could eventually extend to iPhones and Apple TV.

The 11 launch countries are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The BBC said that the initial roll-out through a small number of countries was seen as a pilot for a broader global service.

The US, Canada and Australia are expected to see the service arrive later in the year.