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BBC embraces Web 2.0

8 March 2007

The BBC, BBC Worldwide and YouTube are partnering to offer internet users across the world what the companies refer to as “new and innovative ways to experience and enjoy BBC content,” writes Fergal Ringrose.

Billed as a non-exclusive partnership, the move will create branded BBC “Channels” on YouTube operating under separate BBC and BBC Worldwide agreements and is one of the more high-profile attempts undertaken by broadcasters so far to manage their content on the wider web.

The partnership reflects YouTube’s commitment to work with content owners to make compelling video accessible online, and the BBC’s commitment to increase reach through the partnership, to bring new audiences to the proposed BBC iPlayer service, and to secure commercial revenue via BBC Worldwide, its commercial subsidiary, to supplement the licence fee.

The partnership, which will build over time, comprises three elements:

From the BBC: Clips of new shows and specially commissioned promotional content linked to popular series such as Doctor Who and Life On Mars. At launch, the YouTube community will be able to enjoy a range of specially- created video diaries including David Tennant and Freema Agyeman, who’ll take viewers around the set of Doctor Who; John Simm going back in time for Life On Mars; and Clive Myrie on the streets of the red zone of Baghdad

From BBC Worldwide: An entertainment channel called “BBC Worldwide” showing clips from material such as Top Gear, Spooks, The Catherine Tate Show, The Mighty Boosh and a range of factual programmes including those presented by David Attenborough. The channel will include a limited amount of advertising.

From BBC World, the BBC’s international commercial television channel: Around 30 news clips per day will be offered, with up-to-the-minute news and analysis from around the world. The advertising-funded clips will be available to users outside the UK only.

Users will be able to comment on clips, rate them, recommend them to friends and post their own video responses to communicate with the BBC and other viewers in common with usual Web 2.0 practises.

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, said: “This ground-breaking partnership between the BBC and YouTube is fantastic news for our audiences. YouTube is a key gateway through which to engage new audiences in the UK and abroad. The partnership provides both a creative outlet for a range of short-form content from BBC programme makers and the opportunity to learn about new forms of audience behaviour. It’s essential that the BBC embraces new ways of reaching wider audiences with non-exclusive partnerships such as these.”

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