Thursday 28 May 2009 8:00 pm

BBC, Google plan global iPlayer site

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THE BBC is in talks with Google about launching an international version of its hugely popular iPlayer, City A.M. has learnt.

Director General Mark Thomson is leading negotiations with Google boss Eric Schmidt, which could see a global version of the internet TV service hosted on Google’s YouTube. The two firms would then split advertising revenues, although a final agreement has yet to be reached.

Unlike the short BBC clips that are currently available on YouTube, Thomson is proposing that full-length shows be carried on the international iPlayer.

Analysts say such a deal would fit in with Google’s strategy of replacing pirated videos with properly-licensed content.

According to a source close to the talks, Thomson first aired the idea in a meeting with BBC director of future media and technology Erik Huggers last month, before approaching Schmidt with his proposals. The trio also discussed the plans at Google’s Zeitgeist conference last week.

“It’s an ambitious plan – but that’s why I like it,” Thomson told Huggers.