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BBC finds a new friend in MySpace

25 января 2008

MySpace and the BBC’s commercial arm will on Thursday announce an agreement that will see clips from popular programmes distributed on the social networking site owned by News Corp.

BBC Worldwide will be MySpace’s first broadcasting partner as the site seeks to increase the video content available to users.

BBC finds a new friend in MySpaceThe link between a company from within Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate and the UK state broadcaster, often billed as his particular bête noire, might be expected to excite comment but was played down by the two organisations on Wednesday.

Simon DANKER, director of digital media at BBC Worldwide, shrugged off previous clashes with News Corp, including Mr Murdoch’s decision to remove the broadcaster’s World Service TV channel from his Star TV network in
China in 1994 in an effort to gain acceptance by the Chinese leadership.

Mr Danker said: “I can’t comment on that but this [deal] speaks for itself. You are bringing the largest social network together with one of the largest providers of video which is popular all over the world, so it’s just a really good partnership.”

Travis KATZ, managing director of MySpace’s international division, said: “We have a very positive relationship, very similar ideas of what we want to get out of this. I think it’s a deal we are quite excited about and don’t anticipate any conflict, frankly.”

The BBC has a distribution deal with YouTube, the Google-owned video-sharing site, but Mr Danker said that its content would be used differently on MySpace.

“People spend so much time living on their profile pages and that’s where they will do most of the viewing and sharing of our content,” he said.

The deal will involve three-minute clips from programmes such as Top Gear and Doctor Who appearing on MySpace. The two companies will share advertising revenue, but declined to discuss the financial terms agreed.

MySpace makes most of its revenues from advertising and sponsorship. After YouTube, MySpace is the second-largest video website but with advertising increasing online – $1.3bn in 2007 – the group wants to strike more content deals.

MySpace is a distribution partner for Hulu, the online joint venture between News Corp and NBC Universal.

Apart from the misadventure over Star, Mr Murdoch would not be counted as one of the BBC’s greatest supporters. In 2003, he claimed the UK government had allowed the BBC to act anti-competitively. “It gets anything it wants and has done from any government,” Mr Murdoch said.

Three years later, his son James, the chief executive of BSkyB, took up the theme, accusing the BBC of taxpayer-funded “megalomania”.

However, the BBC has done successful business with News Corp companies. It is a minority shareholder in an Australian business called UK.TV with News Corp’s FOXTEL, and FremantleMedia.

The BBC also has a deal for 10 channels to run on Sky in the UK, two on TataSky in India, and one on Starhub in Singapore, through its UKTV joint venture with Virgin Media.

Источник: Financial Times

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