BBC News Show Gets New Distributor

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BBC World News programming will have a new distributor to public-television stations this fall under an agreement struck between the BBC and KCET in Los Angeles.

WLIW, a public station on Long Island, N.Y., currently distributes BBC World News programming to more than 200 Public Broadcasting Service affiliates. In October KCET will handle the distribution of that programming as part of this new agreement.

A month ago, a story in The Wall Street Journal indicated BBC Worldwide America chief Garth Ancier planned to “renegotiate” the distribution terms of BBC World News programming on PBS to avoid undercutting BBC World News America, the flagship nightly news program on BBC America and on the BBC World News channel. The story quoted WLIW general manager Terrel Cass as saying he hoped to persuade the BBC to avoid making such changes.

BBC America and KCET representatives said they were still discussing packaging and scheduling terms that would apply under the new distribution contract, but both said they were interested in having BBC World News programs shown on as many PBS affiliates as possible. Both said it was in their mutual interest to have PBS affiliates be happy with the new arrangements and for consumers to be clear about what they were getting with the different programs.

BBC World News, in the evening, generally is shown live for a half-hour at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., and the one-hour BBC World News America airs at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on BBC America and on the BBC World News channel (carried in the United States only by Cablevision.) But there have been some occasions when BBC World News shows on PBS have aired in delayed fashion against BBC World News America, leading to some consumer confusion, people familiar with the matter said.

“We’re very happy to be working with KCET,” BBC America vice president of publicity Amy Mulcair said Monday. “They’re on the same page as us in terms of how BBC News is presented to their audience.”

BBC World News programming recently saw its brand refreshed, including with new logo treatments.

BBC World News, owned and operated by BBC World Ltd, attracts 76 million viewers a week, is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and reaches 276 million households and more than 1.5 million hotel rooms, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.

KCET, considered the West Coast flagship station of PBS, is watched by 4 million viewers a month in 11 counties, the largest broadcast reach of any U.S. public television station, it says.

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