Monday, January 27, 2014

BREAKING. BBC Brit starting as a new BBC global TV channel 'geared' towards men. Will MultiChoice and BBC Worldwide add it to DStv?

BBC Worldwide is starting a new thematic TV channel which will be called BBC Brit - a brand-new global TV channel geared towards men and on which BBC shows such as Top Gear will be shown.

It's not clear whether BBC Worldwide - which already runs BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies - on MultiChoice's DStv, will be bringing BBC Brit to South Africa and Africa.

Indeed it seems as if very big changes are on the cards for BBC Worldwide's BBC portfolio of channels about which BBC Worldwide isn't talking for now.

It seems to me likely that BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and BBC Knowledge are all going to go away, to be replaced by BBC First, BBC Brit and BBC Earth (with CBeebies unchanged).

BBC Earth is of course the new factual TV channel brand from BBC Worldwide - part of a new TV channel brand which first surfaced two years ago and which has slowly been advancing.

With the news of BBC Brit starting, my guess would be that BBC Entertainment and BBC Lifestyle will fuse to become one single TV channel to become BBC Brit, sending its programming which doesn't fit to other BBC channels.

Let's build this growing BBC puzzle from what we know:

In October last year TV with Thinus reported that BBC First is coming as BBC Worldwide's new global TV channel, which will launch in Australia first this year.

BBC First will carry premium drama and high quality first-run British programming. Also remember that one of the existing BBC Worldwide channels WILL be closing down and undergoing a rebranding. We don't yet know which one, but it will definitely happen.

If BBC Entertainment possibly ceases to exist, programming geared towards male viewership on BBC Entertainment will not go to BBC First but to BBC Brit. And then there's BBC Earth - the other new BBC Worldwide channel, which will likely be rolled out globally further (to replace BBC Knowledge?).

So my guess and speculation for now would be: Either at once on DStv for South Africa, or over time, we could see BBC Entertainment and BBC Lifestyle become one channel as BBC First.

BBC First will retain shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Downton Abbey on the new BBC First channel and sending programming  from BBC Entertainment and BBC Lifestyle to BBC Knowledge.

BBC Knowledge itself could remain BBC Knowledge or be changing its name to BBC Earth.

And then there will be the new BBC Brit channel for more guy focused shows, and CBeebies for the little ones.

If this is all too much to keep track of and making your head spin, there is even one more, additional possibility:

That only BBC Entertainment closes down, or only BBC Lifestyle closes down. (So they don't fuse; the one just closes down.). That would leave BBC Brit, and BBC Earth (or BBC Knowledge) and in addition to that also or a BBC Entertainment, or a BBC Lifestyle.

It won't be the first time the BBC's global TV channels are going through a renaming, rebranding and positioning realignment as they've been seen on DStv in South Africa.

Remember BBC Food which didn't exist and was then started? Remember when BBC Food was cancelled a few years later to become BBC Lifestyle? Remember BBC Prime which preceded BBC Entertainment Remember when there wasn't even a BBC Knowledge?

Remember Top Gear which was on BBC Prime, then BBC Entertainment, then BBC Knowledge and is back on BBC Entertainment?

"BBC Brit will capture the maverick spirit of our premium factual entertainment programmes," Tim Davie, BBC Worldwide CEO told Britain's Broadcasting Press Guild.

The creation of BBC Brit and BBC Earth bring with it tantalising new possibilities, programming changes and restructuring.

It will be interesting to see how the new brands of BBC Brit and BBC Earth impacts the existing BBC channels seen in South Africa, and if, when, and how.