The BBC plans to launch an online video service for subscribers in the United States. Right now you can watch some BBC programs on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or other services, but Anglophiles in the US who want access the latest BBC content pretty much have to sign up for a cable or satellite TV provider that offers BBC America.

Next year they may be able to subscribe to an online-only service.


BBC already has a pretty strong internet presence in the UK, where the TV and radio service is funded by a license fee paid by folks who buy TVs and radios. If you’re in the UK, you can use the BBC iPlayer app or website to catch up on recent TV programs and movies. But iPlayer isn’t available outside of the UK (unless you use some tricks to mask your location).

While BBC would be prohibited by law from charging for an internet video service in its home country, there’s theoretically nothing stopping the corporation from launching a Netflix-style service for international viewers.

That said, the BBC has already scrapped earlier plan to launch a global version of its iPlayer service due to pushback from TV providers in the US that feared it would compete with the BBC America TV channels they carried.

So what’s different this time? Apparently the BBC plans to use its upcoming internet service to let US audiences watch programs that aren’t already offered through BBC America. In other words, don’t expect to see Doctor Who and Sherlock from the new online-only service.

via Politco and The Telegraph

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,464 other subscribers

4 replies on “BBC to launch US video subscription service”

  1. Using a VPN and just using the BBC Iplayer on a HTPC works great… something many off us in the US have been doing for years! Especially great if you like to follow sports that are not as well covered in the US like track and field or cricket.

  2. A lot of this programming also is on PBS–Downton Abbey for example. But I like this idea.

  3. Or they use a VPN with an exit in the UK… (which of course is a terribly naughty thing to do, since that means not paying in via TV license).

    1. Given the massive revenue cuts the Tory government is going to impose on the BBC, it’s likely you’re going to need a TV license-linked account to access iPlayer in the not too distant future. They certainly want to close the loophole where UK residents can legally watch iPlayer content without a license if they do not access live television, and requiring an account is probably the best way to do that.

      Most Americans probably don’t know that the there are thousands of hours of their radio (i.e. audio) content available for free (and legally outside the UK) on the BBC’s website. If you like listening to podcasts, then you should definitely check it out.

Comments are closed.