Gore brings user-generated Current TV to U.K.

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LONDON -- Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is bringing his user-generated content channel Current TV to eight million U.K. homes under a new carriage deal with satellite broadcaster BSkyB, he announced Friday with BSkyB CEO James Murdoch.

The deal gives young adult-skewed Current its first foothold outside the U.S., and the channel's "viewer-created content" model will be tailored to allow British and Irish viewers to submit their own video content for the schedules.

The move marks a "significant step" in Current's ambitions to become an international media company, the company said. It also represents Sky's first step into the burgeoning user-generated content market led by such players as YouTube and MySpace.

The channel will offer short-form, viewer-produced, non-fiction-programming "pods," allowing viewer producers from the U.K. and Ireland to submit their video segments via Current TV's Web site.

If their work is selected for broadcast, they also will have a chance to have their pieces broadcast to Current's 30 million U.S. homes and into future markets where Current hopes to expand.

"We are grateful to be working with BSkyB in our first international venture. This is a big step in fulfilling Current's mission of sparking a global conversation among young adults," Gore said.

"Bringing our viewer created content model to the U.K. and Ireland will give millions of young viewers the opportunity to not only watch, but also to create, television programming that is relevant to them," Gore added. "We're excited about being able to unleash the creativity of young people in the U.K. and Ireland, enabling them to share their stories with their generational cohort here and around the world."

Sky's James Murdoch said that Current TV's collaborative approach gave it an edge over other platforms pushing user-generated content.

"Current TV is bringing the Web's sense of empowerment to television for the first time. It has a uniquely collaborative approach to working with viewer producers that stands out among other platforms for user-generated video," Murdoch said. "As a first step toward Sky's own moves in this fascinating field, we're pleased to help give a voice to millions of young people throughout the U.K. and Ireland."
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