Friday, March 02, 2007

Coming to YouTube: Doctor Who and Friends

Although YouTube couldn't reach an agreement with Viacom on content, it just signed a deal with a major broadcaster from overseas. YouTube and the BBC announced today that they had inked a deal to put the British broadcaster's programming on the popular video sharing site.

The content will include popular shows such as Doctor Who, Spooks, and The Catherine Tate Show. It's not clear whether the content will involve excerpts of all shows or the complete shows. It sounds like there will be at least one news channel and one entertainment channel, though one report I read indicated there would be two entertainment channels.

It's said that advertising will be included in one of the channels, which has caused some controversy in Britain. The BBC is funded by license fees that TV owners in Britain purchase, and the network contains no advertising. The Beeb's international programming can contain advertising, and there's been much rancor over whether properties such as the BBC News Web site should contain ads.

As an American, I don't see any problem with them including ads on content shown outside Britain, since they don't get any licensing money from non-British users (though they do receive money for the rights to show programming on networks such as PBS). I'm looking forward to being able to see more BBC programming, with or without ads.

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