The BBC’s plans to internationalise its iPlayer catch-up service are now going all-out, with news its television director Jana Bennett is moving to be president of worldwide networks and global iPlayer at the commercial wing BBC Worldwide.
It’s a big role, with oversight of all the BBC’s overseas channels, including digital. BBCWW CEO John Smith: “We have launched 26 channels over the last four years, and have high ambitions for them. They are a primary focus of investment and a key means of showcasing quality British content to consumers around the world.
“Jana will drive them to the next level on every front – reach, ratings, revenue and editorial excellence. In digital services, Jana’s contribution to the launch and ongoing success of the UK iPlayer, and her oversight of the launch of the BBC’s red button service, along with her programming expertise, qualify her perfectly to lead the Global iPlayer.”
In time, it’s likely the global iPlayer will become just one of those channels.
Back in September, BBCWW had already given a new role of global iPlayer launch director to Mark Smith, who had previously been filling in in the role of general manager for programmes and on-demand at the BBC on an acting basis.
Although not part of the BBC’s future media and technology team, Bennett had been involved with its build of the iPlayer more than three years ago. She is an eight-year executive veteran who has run the whole of the TV content side of the BBC’s UK public service corporation – initially in the role of television director, later renamed as the BBC Vision department. In that sense, she is also a high-profile name to be leaving the BBC.
“When you add in the possibilities we have with the Global iPlayer it was something that I knew I just had to do,” she says in the announcement.