LONDON: The UK's publicly funded broadcaster, the BBC, has inked a deal with Google-owned YouTube to launch three branded channels on the latter's video sharing website. They will feature clips from the corporation's award winning programmes, some specially created content and advertising-funded news, which will be available only to overseas viewers.

The agreement allows users to comment on clips, rate them, recommend them to friends and post their own video responses; also to communicate with other viewers and the BBC. Additionally, the site will act as a shop window enabling users to link to the BBC's interactive media player for on-demand content.

The move is one of a number of BBC initiatives to make its content accessible to the maximum number of users across all digital platforms.

Declares BBC director-general Mark Thompson: "This ground-breaking partnership ... is fantastic news for our audiences. YouTube is a key gateway through which to engage new audiences in the UK and abroad."

YouTube ceo and co-founder Chad Hurley avers: "The BBC is a premier source for quality programming, and we're excited that they are leading the way in enabling two-way dialogue and real engagement with an entirely new audience."

  • Meantime, the broadcaster's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, is aiming to double profits to £200 million ($384m; €293m) over the next five years in an attempt to bridge the funding divide caused by a disappointing licence fee settlement [WARC News: 18-Jan-07].

    The unit's ceo, John Smith, wants to increase revenues from English-speaking countries and digital businesses, including a controversial plan to carry ads on the BBC's international websites [WARC News: 26-Feb-07].

    Such moves bring cries of complaint from commercial rivals, concerned about unfair competition. But Smith ripostes: "After the review of the business three years ago, the main complaints were coming from politicians who were saying: 'You've got this great brand, you're just lousy'."

    He added: "Depending on the climate of the day, you're either doing well and competitors don't like that or you're doing badly and competitors love that and politicians hate it."

    Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); and Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff