BBC Worldwide’s president of worldwide networks and global iPlayer, Jana Bennett (pictured), will today outline plans for the UK broadcaster to launch a full BBC Earth channel internationally, giving her first major speech in her current role at the Banff World Media Festival.
In a wide-ranging speech outlining her future vision and priorities for BBC Worldwide’s (BBCWW) network of international channels, Bennett will also announce that the Corporation’s commercial arm is deepening its development of original Lonely Planet programming with the launch of several “branded blocks,” which will be broadcast on BBC Knowledge channels in 14 countries around the world.
The launch of a BBC Earth channel in a number of key territories follows the success the Beeb has had with a BBC Earth branded block in countries such as Germany and the U.S.
Bennett will also mention plans to launch a new, premium HD service in a number of territories, which will be used as a home for first-run scripted and landmark factual programs.
Elsewhere, Bennett – who stepped down as head of BBC Vision in December to take on the new BBCWW president of worldwide networks role – will unveil a major international TV season called ‘London Calling,’ which will provide a month of programming across genres including factual, history, drama, culture and music.
In the run up to the Olympic Games, BBC Worldwide Channels – including BBC Knowledge and BBC Entertainment – will air this season to highlight London as “the capital of creativity,” celebrating the people, music, fashion, art, culture and history of the British capital with a wide range of programming.
According to a prepared statement, Bennett will say: “Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and David Bailey put London at the heart of the Swinging Sixties; 15 years ago there was Cool Britannia, and we predict that in 2012 the spotlight will focus firmly on London again. The BBC will be there, telling the story of a world-class city to a global audience.”
Elsewhere in today’s speech, Bennett will announce a number of strategic priorities for the BBC’s global network of channels, including plans to launch a localized feed of BBC HD in Latin America within the year, following in the footsteps of BBC HD versions in Scandinavia, Poland and Turkey; plans for more global viewing event tie-ins, starting with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012; and a commitment to growing the slate of original programming with commissions from both UK and international producers.
She will also talk about her vision for the global version of the BBC’s catch-up service iPlayer, saying that it will create editorially curated collections across genres like music, comedy, factual and natural history, and confirming that it will launch in a multi-territory roll-out, with Western European countries likely to be in the first wave, as part of a staggered launch.
Following her departure at BBC Vision, Bennett was replaced by George Entwistle, formerly head of BBC Knowledge.