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BBC upbeat over Asia prospects

News, 30 July 2015

SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: The outlook for BBC Worldwide in Asia is good because it has a secure pipeline of new content as well as format licensing and digital opportunities, according to a senior executive at the UK broadcaster.

David Weiland, EVP for Asia at BBC Worldwide, told Campaign India that the BBC's annual output of new content puts it in a "fairly unique" situation that positions it well to deal with the challenges facing the industry.

Not least, this includes the huge growth of digital channels in the region with many new entrants on the over-the-top (OTT) platform seeking out content that can differentiate them from their competitors.

He said BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm of the public service broadcaster, has also had a lot of success with production in India where the BBC is "now regarded as one of the go-to production houses for quality entertainment and fiction".

"That taps into our strategy of trying to adapt our content for the local market," he explained. "In the rest of Asia on production, we are more in the format licensing business."

He made clear that linear TV is "nowhere near dead", but noted that OTT is growing massively in Asia and this provides a great opportunity for the BBC to provide content.

"We can supply a wide range of content and OTT being a different channel has an insatiable appetite for volume," he said.

"The volume for OTT services are much greater than a linear channel could ever have. That provides great opportunities and we're talking about having arrangements with different players."

What's more, he continued, even though news is the BBC's best known brand, the corporation makes content across every genre and "that is certainly something that OTT opens up more for us".

Data sourced from Campaign India; additional content by Warc staff