BBC Worldwide Will Rent Out ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes Via Facebook Credits

Facebook Credits today got another vote from the media industry as a currency for paid digital content: the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, announced that from this Wednesday it would start to offer episodes of its popular Doctor Who television series on Facebook, some before they have even been released on DVD.

The venture, a first for BBC Worldwide, will feature several digitally-remastered stories via the show’s Facebook page. They will be accessible by Facebook users in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

They will include older stories like “Tomb of the Cybermen” as well as more recent story lines like “Silence in the Library” and “End of the World.” One of them, “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy,” will be released on Facebook before it has even had its DVD window. Each story line features several episodes, and each rental lasts 48 hours.

The cost for each set of episodes will be 15 credits, or the equivalent of £0.93 ($1.47). As it does with games like Zynga’s FarmVille, Facebook will take a 30 percent cut of each sale.

Facebook is the latest online platform experiment for BBC Worldwide, which also syndicates content on YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG). It has already seen a lot of traffic for its content from Facebook, with the car show Top Gear deriving 30 percent of all of its traffic to from its Facebook fan page. The FT notes that Top Gear might become the next brand that BBC Worldwide ports to the Facebook Credits platform.

For Facebook, the BBC is its latest conquest in its aim to become distribution hub and financial conduit for digital content.

Warner Bros earlier this year started to rent out films on the platform.

And the TV production company Endemol is now also using Facebook Credits as a currency for public voting on the German series of Big Brother.

BBC Worldwide is expected to soon launch a long-awaited international version of its iPlayer VOD service as an iPad app.