Reuters Planning ‘Financial MySpace’

By: Mark Chapman/

The British Broadcasting Corp. said Friday that it has signed a deal with Google Inc.’s YouTube that will allow the popular Web site to show excerpts of the broadcaster’s news and entertainment programs.

The BBC will offer three branded channels on YouTube, the video-sharing Web site bought by Google last year, in a bid to raise its profile and drive extra traffic to its own Web site.

The broadcaster did not reveal the financial terms of the agreement but said it will also get a share of the advertising revenue generated by traffic to the new channels.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson said that YouTube was “a key gateway through which to engage new audiences in the U.K. and abroad.” YouTube attracts an estimated 70 million viewers each month.

One new channel, “BBC Worldwide,” will show clips from hit BBC programs including motor show “Top Gear,” spy drama “Spooks” and the nature documentaries presented by David Attenborough.

A second entertainment channel, “BBC,” will show clips and short features such as video diaries of actors on the popular “Dr Who” TV series.

The third channel, “BBC News,” will show news from the BBC’s commercially operated international news channel of the same name.

Both BBC News and BBC Worldwide will be carry advertising. Viewers in Britain, where the BBC’s involvement in advertising is a thorny issue, will not be able to access the advertising-funded clips.

The broadcaster is funded by a fee paid by all TV users in Britain. It separates its commercial activities, such as its international broadcasting operations, from its domestic, license fee-funded services. Government-commissioned reports have urged the corporation to separate these activities more clearly.

The BBC Trust, the corporation’s new governance body, is considering whether to allow the BBC to advertise on its international Web sites.

David Moody, the director of strategy for BBC Worldwide, said the YouTube deal did not undermine the trust’s authority.

“This deal is absolutely no different to what BBC World has offered for years; we have deals to offer clips on Web sites such as Yahoo!,” said Moody.

Some large media and entertainment companies have objected to YouTube’s use of their material on an unauthorized basis.

Viacom Inc., recently forced the company to take down more than 100,000 video clips from the YouTube site, which features video clips both made by private individuals and from corporations.

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