BBC Worldwide has plans to expand across Europe

5:00 AM PST 10/10/2007 by Mimi Turn, Janine Stein

Rolls out entertainment portfolio

BBC Worldwide seeks to overturn the might of Viacom, Turner Broadcasting and Discovery in Europe within the six next years by becoming the biggest pan-regional entertainment channel group, BBC Worldwide head of distribution Dean Possenneskie said Tuesday.

The news came as BBC Worldwide's Asia division announced the launch of a new Mumbai, India-based production division that will create local versions of BBC formats and create new shows for the content-hungry market.

With its new four-channel entertainment, lifestyle, news and kids content portfolio rolling out across Europe, Possenniskie believes that the commercial arm of the pubcaster can eclipse the U.S. studios with new distribution for powerhouse BBC programming, despite being relatively new to the market.

"Our ambition is to become the largest network in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the next six years, and that means being bigger than the competition," Possenniskie said.

"What we have as a point of differentiation is that although Turner, Discovery and Viacom have channel blocks, they still tend to be niche, either purely music or purely kid or purely factual, they don't move out of their core businesses.

"Coming through the pipeline is an incredible range of very broad channels that can serve anyone from 2 years old to 60. We've got a whole range of content without being stretched too thin."

The pubcaster's commercial arm is swapping out its existing BBC Prime and BBC Food brands for the new channel block, which launched last week in Poland. South Africa and Scandinavia will be the next rollout targets.

The Mumbai division will allow Worldwide to produce formats for the burgeoning local market as well as source content for the company's global catalog, said BBC Worldwide director of international formats Colin Jarvis.
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