May 30, 2009

BBC, Google may join for iPlayer shows

BBC is negotiating with Google to have episodes of the British broadcaster's TV series available through the BBC iPlayer, sources close to the talks say.

The anonymous sources said BBC Director-General Mark Thompson and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt have been discussing a joint venture that would create an international version of the broadcaster's iPlayer, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The sources said the new iPlayer version would be supported in an unspecified capacity by the video-sharing Web site YouTube, which is owned by Google.

YouTube carries short clips of some BBC series, but no full episodes. The reported proposal would make viewers worldwide able to watch entire BBC episodes online via the iPlayer platform.

An unidentified BBC representative confirmed an international iPlayer was a possibility, but added numerous obstacles were causing problems in such expansion efforts.

There are a significant number of obstacles to extending this commercially to other countries, including international rights clearance, the representative told the Telegraph.