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BBC iPlayer for iPad Goes Global

After endless development and lobbying from fans around the world, the BBC has finally opened up an international version of the iPlayer — its smash hit video-on-demand service. As of today, users in eleven European countries will be able to download the iPlayer app and pay for access to a library of popular shows. Notable territories on this first launch are Germany, France, Italy and Spain, but the corporation hopes to roll out soon in America and elsewhere.

The iPlayer app is free, but to watch shows users will have to shell out €6.99s a month (about $10), or €49.99 (about $72) for a yearly subscription. BBC iPlayer subscribers will be able to access a vast selection of English-language programs.

Content will be distributed in eight major categories, including News Specials & Documentaries; Entertainment; Drama; Comedy; Science & Nature; Family & Kids; Music & Culture and Lifestyle.

The global iPlayer has some differences from other iPad video apps like Hulu Plus or ABC’s video player. Notably, it can stream shows over 3G connections as well as Wi-Fi, and users will be able to download and store shows for viewing while offline. The BBC is said to have worked closely with Apple to make this possible.

Commenting on the app’s release, Jana Bennett, BBC Worldwide President of Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer, said: “Based on the soaring success of the UK’s pioneering BBC iPlayer service, the app combines technical innovation with editorial creativity to transport users to the heart of the BBC and British television and on a journey of discovery, wherever and whenever they want.”

BBC iPlayer is a free download from the iTunes App Store. It works only with the Apple iPad and requires iOS 4.3 or later.