BBC reaches content deal with YouTube

Clips of BBC shows, such as Doctor Who and Life on Mars will soon be appearing on video sharing website YouTube following an agreement with the BBC.

Don't expect to see full length episodes online, however. Under the non-exclusive partnership, the BBC channels will only contain 'short-form videos'.

From the BBC itself, there will clips and promotional content of shows such as Doctor Who and Top Gear and specially-created video diaries related to the shows, such as taking viewers around the set of Doctor Who.

There will also be a second entertainment channel, dubbed BBC Worldwide, showing clips from the likes of Spooks, The Catherine Tate Show and The Mighty Boosh, as well as from documentaries presented by David Attenborough. The channel will include a limited amount of advertising, states the BBC.

There will also be a news offering. Around 30 news clips a day are promised, providing 'up-to-the-minute news and analysis from around the world,' in the words of the BBC. The advertising-funded clips will only be available to users outside the UK, states the corporation.

From the YouTube perspective, the deal - which is part of a number of worldwide agreements announced today - further legitimises YouTube and its handling of copyrighted material.

From the BBC perspective, not only is there revenue-raising potential from the associated online advertising, courtesy of Google, but it will increase its online audiences. The BBC also speaks of "bringing new audiences to the proposed BBC iPlayer service."

The Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, described the deal as 'fantastic news' for the BBC's audience. "YouTube is a key gateway through which to engage new audiences in the UK and abroad," he added.

"The BBC is a premier source for quality programming, and we're excited that they are leading the way in enabling two-way dialogue and real engagement with an entirely new audience," said the CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube, Chad Hurley. "We hope to open up an entirely new audience for their content, while deepening their relationship with their existing viewers."

Specifically, the deal involves both the BBC and BBC Worldwide, which is the main commercial arm, and a wholly owned subsidiary, of the BBC. It is intended to increase BBC revenues for the benefit of UK licence payers.

The deal highlights, once again, the issue of how best the BBC can maximise revenues from online audiences - which are global, by nature - and yet not be seen as a commercial rival to UK content producers.

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