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BBCWW to scrap global iPlayer

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) will scrap its global iPlayer and merge the services it provides on an expanded international website as part of a new three-pronged strategy.

BBCWW CEO Tim Davie has put investing in content, creating new global brands and developing its digital offering at the heart of his company’s strategy over the next three years.

That will see the end of the global iPlayer, a subscription VoD service the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster has been trialling in 16 territories for over two years. In its place will be a longform video player providing similar services via its international site, bbc.com.

As part of director general Tony Hall’s vision to double the BBC’s global reach to 500 million people per week by 2022, BBCWW will also focus on establishing a global BBC Store that will allow viewers to download and keep a selection of programming.

In addition, investment in content will increase by £30m (US$48.6m) a year to £200m, with more cooperation between BBCWW and its indie and coproduction partners, such as the new commission for drama series Intruders for BBC America, which will be produced by BBCWW Productions in Los Angeles.

BBCWW’s recent move to become the main coproduction partner with the BBC’s Natural History Unit is part of these plans, following the end of its agreement with Discovery.

The company will also launch new brands via linear and digital channels, with BBC Earth carrying premium factual content and a programming block set to air on BBC America in 2014. BBC First will act as a home to first-run UK drama, with the channel due to launch on Australia’s Foxtel platform in August. A third male-skewing entertainment brand will also be launched.

Davie said the plans would “underpin” the firm’s work over the next three years, adding: “They combine an increased commitment to content investment with new BBC content brands alongside a more powerful and unified digital engine.

“The time has come for a step-change, reflecting the rapid development in our markets. In particular, we will invest more in the unique content that powers everything we do, and realise the full potential of the BBC brand with audiences around the world.”

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