Even in these times of infinite choice when it comes to entertainment, the BBC is still held in very high regard around the world. The BBC World Service, for example, is still broadcast worldwide and represents both high levels of journalistic merit, not to mention independence from any political party or commercial sponsor.
Many BBC programs have been syndicated around the world, with millions of viewers being as familiar with Top Gear or Doctor Who as we are here in the UK.
Even more people around the world have enjoyed watching these shows “on demand” from the BBC’s international iPlayer app (which is separate to the UK version, despite the shared name).
Since 2011, expats and locals alike in areas as diverse as Canada, Australia and Western Europe have been able to enjoy an assortment of much-loved BBC-produced television programs on their tablet computers thanks to the iPlayer app.
Not only has the iPlayer app enabled many non-British television viewers to enjoy the cream of UK television programs, but of course expats spread out across the world have also been able to enjoy a little taste of home on a regular basis.
Now, however, it seems that all this is to end as the international service is finally switched off at the end of this month. June 26th will see the service shut down once and for all, with expat Brits being cut off from some of the favourite TV shows.
A spokesperson from the BBC claims that the goal was always to eventually shut down the service. The international iPlayer app always featured a far smaller range of programs than the UK version on the app, though was still very popular. The BBC claims they are simply following through on their original plans to shut down the service.
Part of the problem seems to be caused by the way in which the BBC is funded. Here in the UK, the iPlayer service is paid for by the television license fee, paid for by virtually every home owner in the British Isles. By making these programs freely available around the world, the British population was essentially paying for other people’s television enjoyment.
It remains to be seen whether the BBC has plans for a replacement service of some form, whether this is free or paid. Due to the popularity of the service, it seems unlikely that expats will be completely cut off from the BBC television service, though no official statements have been made yet.
We hope that an alternative service is offered soon, to help our expat clients to keep up with the very latest happenings on BBC television. Until then, expats who are concerned about the loss of their iPlayer service are encouraged to keep an eye on the BBC website for further news on the closure – and possible alternative solutions.