BBC new media director Ashley Highfield has confirmed plans to sell BBC programmes to non-UK internet users. Highfield told The Guardian the move could boost the corporation's commercial revenues.
"It's something we've been mandated to do by our charter. It's now become possible because we have internet rights that we could charge for, and we now have the technology," he said.
In addition to selling programmes, BBC Worldwide could also bid for international internet rights to major events such as the Olympic Games and charge for international access.
Highfield said discussions were taking place with BBC Worldwide over a commercial version of the BBC's forthcoming interactive media player (iMP), the application that will allow UK licence payers to freely download TV and radio programmes and watch them up to seven days after transmission date. Trials of the iMP are due to begin in September.
"A commercial version of iMP is one model, but we might also look at partnering with Google, for example. If we're making all this investment to make audio visual content available free of charge in the UK, if we could make some money back internationally it could help mitigate some of those costs," said Highfield.
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