BBC Worldwide Aims Right At Netflix and the Growing OTT Sector

Anybody in the content business knows it’s a worldwide market, which is why some programmers and producers are more familiar with Cannes than California. But for consumers, the sources of their entertainment services pretty much seem like home-grown names.

But an interesting report says that as its funding levels change, the vedy British BBC, no doubt through BCC America and other ways, means to compete worldwide with online content providers like Amazon, Hulu and Netflix on over the top devices and smart TVs.

BBC Worldwide, the commercial part of non-commercial BBC, wants to be totally self-sufficient, not beholden to the government for any money. That means it will begin packaging old programming more aggressively online through its own Website.

British law requires citizens the right to get free catch-up viewing for a month (that, in part, is because Brits pay about $200 per household to get the BBC every year), but now, after that window, downloads will cost.



In other countries, there’s no doubt about the popularity of BBC fare. I’d like to say Netflix has its “House” and the Beeb’s got its “Abbey” but in fact “Downton Abbey” is from ITV. Still, the popularity of BBC fare here is undeniable, and the popularity of any number of programs from the BBC re-broadcast here over the years, shows the potential for a pretty lucrative online download service in the US and elsewhere.     

That decision to get into the OTT business that way is a change; the BBC had been touting its iPlayer portal. No more. BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie told Broadcast that he wants a single Website as the one-stop-shop for BCC content. 

 "It is purely a branding question: If you want content, you go to," Davie said. "It has been too fragmented, and globally it is a ferocious market dominated by U.S. and Asian players — like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon — and we have to have scale and a real competitive edge.”

Another part of this BBC Worldwide ramp up is up its content, including spending on BBC America. Broadcast Engineering says the BBC is increasing its spending on programming by the equivalent of $48 million, to about $200 million. Right away. some of is going to pay for “Intruders,” an eight-episode original series exec produced by Glen Morgan, who was a cog in the “X-Files” franchise here. That new series is being pitched around the world.

The worldwide online ambitions gives better context for the BBC's deal to use the new Twitter Amplify feature  which lets them embed video news clips onto Twitter, along with advertising. That's not a bad way for the BBC to get some consistent buzz as it attempts to conquer the world stage online.

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