This was on the cards for some time… the BBC has (finally!) announced a deal to put ‘short clips of BBC content’ on three Youtube channels – one for news, which will carry advertising and hence won’t be available to UK viewers; and two for entertainment, one for promotional ‘DVD extra’ kind of stuff, and one for longer clips from the BBC archive. The deal will run for ‘several’ years, and is non-exclusive. Ashley Highfield is quite clear on it though: it’s purely a promotional channel for the Beeb, not a full-on distribution mechanism.
As such, it’s not a particularly exciting announcement (in itself). ‘Controversially,’ says BBC news itself, ‘the BBC Worldwide page – adverts and all – can be seen in the UK.’ This might work out as the thin end of a wedge, but I don’t imagine people manning barricades over it. From my own perspective, I’m trying to get a high-profile client to bite the Youtube bullet at the moment, and this should help.