It looks like the BBC is in negotiations to sign a deal that see its content placed on YouTube, much like NBC and CBS have already done. The International Herald Tribune reports that negotiations are underway with the Google-bought company, with as yet undisclosed terms. Its unclear whether or not they would have a dedicated channel, such as NBC, or, merely syndicate different shows, like CBS has done with shows like the David Letterman show.
What’s not unclear, however, is the rationale for heading towards YouTube.
There’s no doubt that the BBC has its own plans for distributed video, but with the number of users that YouTube has, its probably viewed more as a distribution channel. And its ability to “channel” viewers is obvious.
Last fall year CBS produced data that showed increased off-line viewership after it began to syndicate a number of its television shows on YouTube. In particular, shows such as the “The Late Show, with David Letterman”, “The Late Late Show, with Craig Ferguson”, had all increased its viewership 5-7% after CBS began seeding its videos on YouTube. While the exact numbers might be indispute, it did provide some data that suggested that — shocking, I know — providing grainy poor-resolution, in-front-of-your-PC “free” shows improved the value of ad-supported higher resolution on-your-couch shows.
Look for the actual details to be disclosed this Wednesday.