With our sights firmly set on international growth, we have
sharpened our focus on the world's biggest media market - the
For UK media companies, the USA has clear advantages in having a
common language and an established appetite for some types of UK
content and talent. However, it is also a highly consolidated and
competitive market where foreign operators are in the minority. BBC
Worldwide is one of the few non-US players to have built meaningful
distribution in this market.
- The BBC brand is recognised widely and we are the only UK
company to have an owned and operated TV channel, BBC
- BBC.com has 15.2m unique users in the USA (2010/11 monthly
- BBC World News is distributed by BBC Worldwide in the USA. It
provides in-depth coverage of global news from an impartial,
In June 2010, we appointed Herb Scannell (see BBC
Worldwide Executive) to head up our North American businesses.
Plans are now in place to grow our market share over the next five
The USA media market is worth $400bn (PwC Global Entertainment
& Media Outlook). The TV market is dominated by the six major
media conglomerates, which also own the most significant broadcast
and cable channels - for example, ABC (Disney) and USA
(NBCUniversal). Most shows are made by the major studios.
The overall advertising market has rebounded since its 2009 low
and in 2010 topped $153bn (eMarketer), with online showing
the fastest rate of growth. The number of TV hours viewed grew by
1% last year (fig 1), while online video viewers increased 11%
(Nielsen). Those watching video via mobile devices rose by more
than 40% year on year (eMarketer).
The US market is frequently a prime indicator for world trends
so what we learn here we can often apply globally.
US daily TV viewing
A leading independent entertainment cable channel with 68.5m
subscribers, BBC America is recognised as a home for smart
entertainment and provides a strong platform for UK talent and
content and a high-value audience for advertisers. In 2010/11 the
channel had its best year ever, with primetime ratings among 25-54
year olds up 37% year on year. Its subscribers have the highest
median income of any ad-supported US cable channel, excluding
sports networks (Nielsen NHI/Media Research).
Based in Los Angeles, our production hub has delivered hugely
popular US versions of the BBC formats Dancing with the Stars (12
seasons for ABC) and Top Gear, recommissioned for a second series
by cable channel HISTORYTM. It has also developed a
strong slate of both scripted and unscripted UK formats, and made
the new series of the BBC hit drama Torchwood, co-produced by BBC
Worldwide, BBC Cymru Wales and, in the USA, the cable channel
STARZ. The series has benefited from a higher production budget
thanks to this co-production finance and has been added to our
The digital business is underpinned by BBC.com but also
encompasses online, TV syndication, social media, games and apps.
We have established a Games Unit in Los Angeles and London, which
is developing games across all major platforms, including Sony,
Microsoft and Nintendo consoles, mobile and tablet devices, and