BBC TV channels gaining in SA
Cape Town – The BBC's TV channels in South Africa are showing strong growth, with the Beeb's portfolio of international channels now ranking among the top three on MultiChoice's DStv pay TV platform.
"All of our channels - BBC Entertainment (DStv 120), BBC Knowledge (DStv 251), BBC Lifestyle (DStv 180) and CBeebies (DStv 306) - are doing extremely well in South Africa," said Jana Bennett, president Worldwide Networks of the BBC's commercial arm, who recently visited South Africa to talk about the British broadcaster's programming plans for 2012.
She said that the BBC is planning to show the best of British programming in South Africa even closer to the UK broadcasting date with shows like the popular Top Gear that will be shown in South Africa on BBC Entertainment just days after episodes are broadcast in the United Kingdom.
"Ours is among the top three international channel portfolios on DStv and the level of sponsorship of our programmes has grown by 80% in the last year," said Bennett.
A bigger focus on global TV events
"One area where you'll see a lot of activity from us will be in global viewing events, especially following the success of the Royal Wedding in April. It was a massive global TV moment. It was the first time that BBC Worldwide really leveraged its global channel portfolio around a single event.
"We took the wedding to the far reaches of the globe though live broadcast on our channels, and all parts of the business came together to create new viewing experiences for our audiences.
"For the first time on our own channels, we delivered synchronised BBC-branded schedules to viewers in America, Australia, New Zealand, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa, allowing us to deliver a truly British affair under a British brand.
"Here in South Africa the coverage gave BBC Knowledge some of its highest ratings since launch. We're going to take the experience of the Royal Wedding and apply it to similar occasions in the future. Upcoming events that offer potential for the same treatment are Sport Relief and London Calling, an exciting season of programming in the run up to The Olympics."
Closer to UK broadcast
"Our ambition, in time, is to develop BBC Earth - BBC Worldwide's natural history brand - and Lonely Planet, into stand-alone television channels, to sit alongside the other brands which have already gained traction around the world," she said.
"Another important part of our strategy is to air as many of our audience's favourite shows much close to the UK broadcast. You'll be please to hear that we've made a start with The Graham Norton Show and Top Gear on BBC Entertainment.
"In fact, I can share with you that by the time series 18 of Top Gear airs in the UK in the New Year, we'll be following a few days later on BBC Entertainment both here and on our other channels around the world. This will help press capitalise on the buzz around these shows."