Just curious really. I understand BBCA is doing reasonably well on cable and that kind of move could be seen as classic case marketing.
I suppose what makes the idea intriguing is that the BBC isn’t ‘owned’ in the conventional sense (as it’s established by Royal Charter and is maintained by the fee paying public), but does that mean that it could potentially circumvent the US legislation that required, for example, Rupert Murdoch to take US citizenship.
I also understand that BBCA now, occasionally, carries…commercials ! The horror !! As the beeb are now keenly looking at a range of cash-raising options to put into programming, I also find myself wondering if that might add to any potential impetus.
Anyone know what the legal restrictions might be ?
There aren’t really many legal restrictions at all as far as cable is concerned. As far as broadcast stations are concerned, there are very few left which are not already affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN, WB or PBS.
NewsCorp (Australia) owns all that is Fox, so foreign ownership of a broadcast network really isn’t much of an issue.
The problem for networks these days is the balkanizing effect of cable. The more channel choices that are offered, the fewer demographically desirable viewers the network can round up in any given time slot, the lower ad rates drop, the more difficult it is to sustain profitability.
But the BBC can (and undoubtedly does) make more money selling its programs on DVD in North America than BBC America makes selling commercial airtime. It’s a welcome addition to the cable lineup, but it does have the ambiance of a token presence – a sort of “We’re there, we’re square, get used to it” kind of thing.
BBC America is owned by the BBC, but is operated in the US by Discovery. Most of their revenue comes from cable subscriber fees (cable systems pay X cents per subscriber) - advertising is secondary - most of the spots on BBC America are “per inquiry” and “direct response” ads which generate nominal revenue. Due to copyright laws, BBC couldn’t just simulcast BBC1 or BBC2 on US TV - so they cherry pick what they think will work in the US (lots of Monty Python, Ab Fab, Keeping Up Appearances, as well as british Movies, music specials (especially Top Of The Pops and Later with Jools Holland) etc. )
Wasn’t Rupert Murdoch required to become an American Citizen at one point due to his broadcast ownership? Someone refresh my memory here, I’m pretty sure that Murdoch is now an American…what exactly was the reason for that?