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BBC Worldwide investing £200m in content

BBC Worldwide investing £200m in content
Pippa Considine
28 January 2014

BBC Worldwide has revealed that it is to brand its new male-skewing global channel BBC Brit, as it confirmed various initiatives as part of its £200m of investment in content,pledged back in October for the next financial year.

These include a major investment in BBC Two’s new drama about British deportees to Australia in the late 18th century, penned by Jimmy McGovern and produced by RSJ Films.

BBC Worldwide ceo Tim Davie also shared BBC Worldwide’s plans to commission its own content across drama, premium factual and factual-entertainment and revealed that Intruders, a BBC America original series produced by BBC Worldwide Productions, will go into production in February.

The cast of the eight-part thriller from writer and executive producer Glen Morgan (The X-Files) will be led by John Simm (State Of Play, Doctor Who).

BBC Worldwide’s third new brand proposition, BBC Brit, aimed at male viewers, will feature factual entertainment, led by Top Gear shows and including content from motoring, business, documentaries and adventure to food, music and sport.

Tim Davie said: "There is a gap in the global market for a male-skewing fact-ent destination. BBC Brit will capture the maverick spirit of our premium factual entertainment programmes.”

The roll-out of the new brands will take place on a market-by-market basis, with all three - BBC Brit, BBC Earth and BBC First - expected to launch in the coming financial year, sitting alongside established brands such as BBC America.

As well as the launch of a BBC Earth-branded block on BBC America, Davie revealed a shared ambition between BBC Worldwide and BBC Television to see BBC Earth on both and (the international version of through a new BBC Earth section.

This collaboration between the BBC Natural History Unit and BBC Worldwide would draw on world-famous BBC shows, with video content of the natural world at the heart of BBC Earth. Research shows an estimated 740 million people worldwide are interested in science and nature, and that BBC natural history content is viewed as ground-breaking, expert and unparalleled in making the viewer actually 'feel like they are there'.

Access would be on a commercial-free basis for UK users, and advertising funded outside the UK, where it would sit alongside existing sections: Travel, Culture, Future, Capital and Autos.

Davie added: “Our shared ambition is to offer a new way to access unique and distinctive Natural History content in the UK, complementing the BBC’s existing schedule of landmark and occasional series. It will also further extend the reach of our world-class Natural History beyond these shores, under the BBC Earth banner, building the BBC’s audience and reputation in this space.”

Davie confirmed that BBC First will lead the roll-out of BBC Worldwide’s new brands portfolio, and that plans are on track for its debut in Australia on the Foxtel platform in August.

Davie also confirmed that BBC Worldwide is to be the commercial operator of BBC Store, on behalf of the BBC, if plans for its launch are approved, and that it is currently testing the consumer proposition.

BBC Store would offer UK consumers the opportunity to buy, watch and keep content in a digital format. The new commercial service would make available a wider range of older content than ever before, alongside more recent programmes.

For international audiences, Davie also said that the annual subscription offer for BBC Global iPlayer has now come to an end, signalling the start of plans to incorporate the BBC’s long-form video player into over time. This may need approval from the Trust.

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