Two years after it signed on to syndicate clips to YouTube, BBC Worldwide has renewed the arrangement, and will add several new brand channels to the video site. Today, that includes Explore, a new natural-world channel, but, in the next few weeks, there will also be new channels for comedy, natural history and the BBC America US cable station. Just as with YouTube’s recently launched US Shows & Movies programme, there are also full-length shows including Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives, Born To Be Wild, Wild Provence and the Life Of Birds – but only for viewing in the US.
YouTube convinced the BBC, which had seen strong popularity for unofficial Top Gear clips, to come aboard in March 2007, with BBCWW taking a share of display ad revs. By July 2008, distribution and sale of clips through destinations like YouTube, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iTunes, MySpace TV and Playstation had reaped a sixfold revenue increase at £7 million for BBCWW. But the income is likely to be even higher in figures for the current year, which we’re awaiting. This money, of course, is reinvested in public-service BBC programming. It’s not just Top Gear – BBCWW has considerable overseas demand for shows like Doctor Who, too, although the BBC Trust recently said BBCWW’s overseas ambitions should be more “contained”.
And it’s clear how much value BBCWW is coming to place on third-party syndication – it’s currently recruiting for an account manager to manage content partnerships with “iTunes/ YouTube/ MySpace etc”. Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide on Thursday said global ad sales EVP Chris Dobson has completed a reorganisation designed to sell advertisers inventory “across the