BBC iPlayer is Targeting VPN Users

Michael In the News

BBC iPlayer first graced UK citizens with its presence in 2007. iPlayer was initially started to allow citizens to catch up on the last 7 days of BBC. As its slogan states, the main goal of iPlayer is, “Making the unmissable, unmissable.” And it has been successful in that endeavor with very few hiccups. Regardless of whether subscribers were at home, on vacation outside of the country, or expatriated it was a way for people to feel at home.

However, in light of a new policy, things are changing.

Closing the Doors on Global BBC Access

Last week, some subscribers started seeing a message that they had never seen before when attempting to catch up on their favorite shows.

BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.

Which was an odd message to receive. Especially for those users who were actually in the UK. In response to the plethora of ‘what gives’ e-mails that BBC surely received, a spokesperson told Torrent Freak, “We regularly make updates to our technology to help prevent access to BBC iPlayer from outside the UK which breaks our terms of use. BBC iPlayer is freely available to users across the UK without a VPN…”

This moves follows an announcement in May of this year that the BBC Global iPlayer would be going offline by June. Although the global version expanded the iPlayer’s reach to 11 countries in western Europe as well as Australia and Canada the company announced that after the current subscriptions ran out there would be no more renewals.

A likely cause for this move is the estimated 60 million people that access BBC iPlayer abroad via VPN services and other circumvention methods- although BBC spokespeople dispute this number. The number given by GlobalWebIndex includes 38.5 million users in China alone. However, a spokesperson talking to Torrent Freak states, “These figures simply aren’t plausible.”

Even though in their responses the spokespersons say, “…we also seek to ensure users of private VPNs such as those used by schools and companies in the UK have access,” they also admit that they lack the technical means to differentiate these users from those at home.

These moves come as BBC is changing its tactics to selling their shows to well established platforms like Hulu and Netflix. There are likely several reasons for this. For one, if the shows are sold to a third party then respecting the licensing then falls on the shoulders of those services (i.e. Netflix). Secondly, it might just be more cost effective for BBC to not have to maintain a global iPlayer version.

In any case what is sure to follow is a never ending game of IP blocking. BBC will encounter the same hurdles that governments face when attempting to block piracy sites. As soon as one site or IP address is added to the block list, not only does it become more popular, but mirror and proxy sites spring up as well.

How to Watch BBC iPlayer Anywhere (Still)

Lucky for you, LiquidVPN has your back. We have already developed a work around that will still allow you to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world. All you have to do is connect to any LiquidVPN server (except Germany) through our new LiquidVPN client and you are good to go.


If you take your privacy as seriously as we do, then you should follow @LiquidVPN

You can follow the author @FreelanceTony

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