The BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service is to launch globally, says a BBC Worldwide staffer, provided that it can win approval from the BBC Trust.

The BBC Trust is the BBC’s overall governing body. Non-UK viewers (and listeners) already have access to programming either directly via the BBC web-site (for radio) and from the BBC’s international video channels BBC America, BBC Entertainment and its other local variations.

But opening up the iPlayer – and for a fee – could be hugely lucrative for fans of the BBC’s output. In the UK, where the content is ‘free’ to users, there have been millions of downloads.

There are no details about the charges per programme, and do not expect ALL BBC programmes to be made available.

The proposal will require BBC Trust approval. BBCWW will be making its intentions clear to the trust in the next few weeks but a formal submission will not yet be compiled. The BBC must walk a fine line between serving its domestic license fee payers and commercialisation, through which BBCWW hands profit back to the UK for public service investment.

Is this the fabled “global iPlayer”, the VOD platform that has taken Britain by storm and almost single-handsedly popularised mass time-shifting? “We would certainly like to use the brand,” Bradley-Jones said; though the service would be allied with overseas channels and wouldn’t carry domestic UK shows. But it would carry non-BBC shows from the likes of Channel 4, for which BBCWW already has rights to air on BBC America.

Sci-fi BBC shows, which already have a large international fan base, will be at the centre of the platform: “Millions of people love Torchwood and would probably pay 10 bucks an episode rather than two bucks.” BBCWW already syndicated pay-for video to channels like iTunes and YouTube (it pulled Ł10 million in sales from such arrangements in 2008/09) - but iTunes puts a ceiling on prices and BBCWW believes it can charge more.