Monday, October 21, 2013

The end of BBC Entertainment on DStv? BBC Knowledge becoming BBC Earth? BBC Worldwide unveils new global TV channels strategy.

BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) and, or BBC Knowledge (DStv 184) as channels on MultiChoice's DStv platform - supplied by BBC Worldwide - could end or be transformed into new channels BBC First and BBC Earth as part of a new wide-ranging international TV channels change and realignment from BBC Worldwide.

BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm has announced that its new premium international channel brand will be known as BBC First with one of the existing BBC international TV channels which will be rebranded but not yet specifying which one it will be.

BBC First will carry premium drama and high quality first-run British programming. Australia will be the first country in August next year to get BBC First.

It could spell the end and the transformation of BBC Entertainment which currently carries the BBC's drama and premium entertainment content internationally.

BBC Knowledge could likewise face a transformation and change to BBC Earth.

BBC Worldwide says BBC Earth will now become the BBC's premium factual content portal. The BBC also plans another, male-skewed TV channel will will focus on factual entertainment and "the maverick spirit of the BBC's best shows". A show such as Top Gear would seem to fit on this as-yet-unnamed channel.

The changes are part of BBC Worldwide's attempt to compete with global content rivals.

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Asked what is going to happen to BBC Entertainment and BBC Knowledge, BBC Worldwide tells TV with Thinus that "we have a successful and established channels business in South Africa and we will be working with our channels partners to find what we think will work best according to market conditions and audience needs."

BBC Worldwide says "it's too early to say what format this will take, but linear channels are just one way in which we can see these new brands rolling out in the market."

Tim Davie, BBC Worldwide CEO said "BBC Worldwide has a good track record of taking British content to the world, benefiting international audiences, licence fee payers and the wider industry alike. But the time has come for a step-change, reflecting the rapid development in our markets.

"In particular, we will invest more into the unique content that powers everything we do, and realise the full potential of the BBC brand with audiences around the world."

The new channels, BBC First, BBC Earth and the third unnamed channel will be introduced on a market-by-market basis around the world from 2014.

"They combine an increased commitment to content investment with new BBC content brands alongside a more powerful and unified digital engine," said Tim Davie.

"Taken together, these three investment priorities will serve to grow the BBC's footprint across the world, both via our own services and our important third party sales, resulting in greater access by audiences to BBC and British content and sustainable cash flows back to the BBC."