BBC Warms to YouTube

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It’s been a busy week for YouTube. Now, it’s the BBC has signed a deal with Google’s video sharing site to form not one, but three official BBC channels on the site that will distribute BBC’s news and entertainment content in the hopes of driving more traffic to the BBC website.

The multi-year deal is non-exclusive, and includes content from the BBC, BBC Worldwide, and BBC News. The BBC “public service” channel, though, will contain no advertising and contain supplementary content like behind-the-scenes clips in order to promote existing BBC programs and encourage viewings on the BBC home page.

The BBC Worldwide “entertainment” channel will contain archived clips from popular BBC programs like “Top Gear” and “The Mighty Boosh”. Ads include banners and pre-rolls. The Worldwide channel will be viewable with advertising by UK users, which could generate some controversy. The BBC has taken heat from a proposal to place advertising on the international BBC.com home page. However, the BBC’s entertainment programs are already monetized by ads through print and television.

Meanwhile, the news channel will show about 30 news clips per day, much like a similar deal made between the BBC and Yahoo. But because the news clips are supported by advertising, they will be inaccessible to users in the UK.

“We don’t want to be overzealous, a lot of the material on YouTube is good promotional content for us,” said BBC director of future media and technology Ashley Highfield in a BBC News story announcing the deal.

According to Highfield, unlike other content providers, the BBC will not be cracking down on BBC clips already uploaded to YouTube unless they infringe on other people’s copyrights as with sporting events, or if they are harmful to the BBC brand itself.

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