Making the announcement as part of a wider RTS Cambridge speech on content within the BBC and the role of BBC Worldwide, director-general Tony Hall said: “We’re launching a new OTT video service in America offering BBC fans programmes they wouldn’t otherwise get – showcasing British actors; our programme-makers – and celebrating our culture.” He also confirmed the new BBC Store would launch [in the UK] next month.
Speaking on the conference sidelines BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie told Broadband TV News the OTT service was not a reworking of the Global iPlayer.
Davie said it would not draw on the same content that had been sold to other broadcasters, adding that there were enough BBC fans to make it work. The model would see it sold either on its own or as part of a package with other channels.
Lord Hall said proposals to carve out BBC Worldwide from the corporation did not make financial sense. “While every major global player is creating a more integrated system, it would make no sense for us to go the other way and break up a system that is delivering returns that are essential to support public service programmes.”
Adding that plans to increase the role of the division would increase commercial returns from Worldwide to the BBC to £1.2 billion over the next five years – more than 15% higher than the returns of the previous five years.