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iPlayer launch delayed indefinitely on 360

360 paid subscription model prevents deal between MS and BBC

The launch of iPlayer on Xbox 360 has been indefinitely delayed after Microsoft has refused to budge on its policy of only allowing paying XBL subscribers to access additional content.

According to a source within the BBC's Future Media and Technology department talking to the Telegraph, Microsoft wants to ensure that only those paying for Xbox Live Gold accounts can access extra content, including the recently launched Sky Player, for which users need a Gold subscription as well as a Sky subscription.

"This does not fit with the BBC's model and Microsoft will not budge at the moment. It is really frustrating for those involved on the BBC side who want to make sure iPlayer is rolled out on as many popular entertainment platforms as possible," said the source.

The BBC is unable to charge for access to iPlayer as it is already included in the licence fee.

"BBC iPlayer has been extremely successful on PS3 and we recently re-launched on Nintendo Wii, from which the public response has been fantastic. People clearly want the BBC iPlayer on their gaming consoles, and we don't think Xbox users are any different, so we've had discussions with Microsoft about bringing the service to the platform," confirmed a BBC spokesperson.

Following its integration with PlayStation 3 earlier this year, the BBC said that viewing on the platform accounted for ten per cent of total viewing, making it the second most popular after PC.

Microsoft launched Last.fm, Twitter, Facebook and Zune functionality via an update in November, and BBC iPlayer was widely expected to follow soon after.

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