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The BBC: Dinosaurs can dance

by on 3 Aug, 2011

BBC Worldwide is close to the sale of its magazines to private equity group Exponent.

This will satisfy those critics in the magazine industry who have always wondered why the BBC is in magazines, not just spin offs from its own programmes.

No supporter or enemy of the BBC should see this as a retreat. Far from it: supporters should rejoice; enemies should rue the day.

For behind this sell off is a cunning plan:

BBC Worldwide now understands social media: the global iPlayer launched last week can stream to anybody some of the top content of the BBC.

5 brands

BBC Worldwide is focusing on five brands. Not the BBC but Top Gear, Dr Who, Dancing with the Stars, BBC Earth and Lonely Planet.

The Lonely Planet acquisition, which caused such criticism in 2007, is going to be a TV channel for the BBC.

Cunning, or what?

All this plan is in the hands and head of John Smith, head of BBC Worldwide. Amanda Andrews of the Sunday Telegraph wrote an excellent piece from an interview with him. Note this was not in a Murdoch paper.

Another brand Smith has up his sleeve is Walking with Dinosaurs. There soon will be a 3D animated film about dinosaurs using BBC intellectual property under production by an Indian film company.

Brands & numbers

Smith studied at Harvard Business School. No wonder he understands his brand strategy. And his numbers: profit last year was £201 million up from £37 million in 2004. And £182 million goes back into the BBC.

Good news for licence payers, like you and me. All bad news for the enemies of BBC Worldwide who were queuing up for a shot at it only six months ago.

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