BBC Worldwide Targets Digital Acquisitions After Strong Profit Year

BBC Worldwide, the UK public service broadcaster’s overseas commercial arm, will turn its attention toward digital acquisitions over the next year after posting a 24 percent increase in profits for the year ending March 31. The company grew profit to GBP 111 million ($222 million) on eight percent better sales of GBP 810 million ($1.6 billion). Non-executive chairman Etienne de Villiers: “To support … objectives, the coming year will be a year of substantial investment – especially in realizing new digital opportunities” (statement).

Digital results: BBC Worldwide’s digital media operations actually saw last year’s loss of GBP 1.6 million grow to GBP 3.9 million, blamed on investments in and a media player, while revenue edged up from GBP 13.3 million ($26.7 million) to GBP 13.9 million ($27.9 million). Overall, internet, VOD and mobile sales were flat, though profit in this segment grew from GBP 1.4 million ($2.8 million) to GBP 3.7 million ($7.4 million).

YouTube: This was the year BBC Worldwide, along with its domestic affiliate, inked a content partnership deal with the video sharing website. BBC Worldwide’s channel has seen over four million video views, while “significant revenues from this deal will be seen in the business’ 2007/08 results”.

Mobile: “This market is still in an early stage of development and operators continue to look for the right business model to make this a large scale opportunity.” Content strands will be redeveloped, some of them pay-for, after advertising has been introduced on to the news, sport and weather sections.

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