The BBC has announced that it will start enabling users to download any program available via the iPlayer and watch or listen to it offline, no matter where they're watching from, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. So far, downloads were only available for PC users.Mobile users could only stream content, meaning this required a constant internet connection. That may not be a problem if you're sitting on your couch watching on your tablet, but it is a problem if you're in a train, in the country and so on.
Therefore, the BBC decided to enable downloads on mobile devices as well, iOS devices for now, the iPhone and the iPad. Support for Android tablets and phones is coming soon.
Users will be able to download any show they want, store it on their device and then watch it any time in the next month, or within seven days from the moment they first started watching. What's more, the content will continue to work everywhere in the world, as long as it's downloaded in the UK.
The BBC is a great example of a state-run company that provides an alternative to commercial enterprises, serves the public interest and still makes money. The BBC is also one of the world's biggest media companies with branches in all mediums, TV, radio and, of course, the web.
As such, it's no surprise that it's embracing the "mobile revolution" albeit a bit late. The iPad iPlayer app has become the second most popular way the service is accessed in a very short amount of time and usage is growing on mobile devices.
With people moving beyond the TV and even beyond the web, it's nice to see the BBC following.
It's also nice to see a media company loosen the ties a little bit for a change. Most of the time, it's the exact opposite, this type of companies pushing for bigger and bigger restrictions and tougher DRM.