Published: 10.49 Europe/London, June 14, 2011

The international version of the BBC iPlayer will be a “very different proposition”, according to BBC Worldwide boss Jana Bennett. In her first major speech as President of Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer, Bennett will also tell the Banff World Media Festival conference in Canada of her vision for the BBC’s international channel portfolio including the launch of a BBC Earth channel.

Describing the launch of the international iPlayer service as ‘very much a pilot’, she said the deployment as an app on Apple’s iPad will be conducted in a careful and measured way’, adding: ‘We want the global BBC iPlayer to imaginatively engage an on-demand audience with the best classic and contemporary British shows.’

The staggered multi-territory launch is likely to see Western European countries included in the first wave. According to Bennett, iPlayer will complement, not cannibalise, the existing schedules of its own and partner channels.

“The freedom from catch-up means that we’ve got a lot more flexibility in terms of what we put on there and how we present it. In overseas markets where the whole gamut of the BBC’s linear broadcast isn’t available then applying the on-demand model we have in the UK doesn’t make sense”. Bennett said iPlayer would showcase the best of British content from the 1950s to the present day.

BBC Earth is the umbrella brand for the BBC’s natural history content. Launched initially as a branded block on BBC Knowledge in February, Bennett said audiences would be able to glimpse what a future BBC Earth channel might look like. There are also plans for a new premium HD service in a number of territories, using the new channel as a home for first-run scripted and landmark factual programmes.