/>
X
Innovation

Official: BBC jumps into bed with YouTube

After it was reported that the BBC was in talks with YouTube, today the UK public service broadcaster announced that it had signed on the dotted line.
Written by Steve O'Hear, Contributor on

After it was reported that the BBC was in talks with YouTube, today the UK public service broadcaster announced that it had signed on the dotted line.

Under the terms of the deal -- which is non-exclusive and will run for several years -- the Beeb will launch three channels on the Google-owned video sharing site. The first of which is described as a "public service" proposition that will feature no advertising, and will show trailers and short features that add value to existing BBC content that can be accessed elsewhere. Examples given include video diaries of David Tennant showing viewers around the set of Dr Who or BBC correspondent Clive Myrie explaining how difficult it is to report from the streets of Baghdad. The idea is to promote current programming and drive traffic back to the BBC website, which will soon have its own download service. The second channel will also be entertainment focussed, featuring self-contained clips of popular programmes in the BBC's archive, but will operate on a commercial basis -- with advertising -- under the BBC Worldwide brand. The third channel will be news-based, showing around 30 news clips per day. It will also be advertising funded, but rather oddly, won't be accessible by UK viewers.

The variations in commercial terms and international access are the result of the BBC trying to keep regulators happy; the broadcaster is largely funded by UK taxpayers, and has to walk a tight rope between public service and commercial activity.

The BBC clearly understands the marketing value of YouTube, and on the issue of take-down notices for unauthorized content uploaded to the site, the BBC's director of Future Media and Technology, Ashley Highfield, is quoted as saying:

"We don't want to be overzealous, a lot of the material on YouTube is good promotional content for us..."

So as well as the official BBC channels, we can continue to expect to see plenty of other Beeb content appear on YouTube, which might prove a lifeline for some viewers (albeit with its 10 minute limit on clips), considering that the broadcaster's soon-to-be launched iPlayer 'catch-up service' will be Windows only.

Editorial standards