BBC Worldwide, YouTube renew deal

To show long-form programs for the first time

LONDON -- The BBC is launching "a limited number" of full-length episodes of natural history program "The Life of Birds" to U.S. viewers, the first time such long-form BBC content will have appeared on the online video platform, it was announced Thursday.

The move is part of an attempt to scope out the potential for long-form online video content, the BBC said, and will be restricted to only five episodes of the hour-long show.

Only viewers in the U.S. will have access to the full-length shows on YouTube, where a new advertising model will operate.

In the U.K. long-form BBC content is not available on the online video aggregator.

The news came as YouTube renewed its global partnership with BBC Worldwide Thursday, launching a range of new short-form video channels including BBC America, BBC Explore and BBC Earth on the online video platform later this year.

Content available on the channels will range from such drama as "Doctor Who," the U.K. version of "Primeval" and "Hotel Babylon" to natural history fare including "Amazon With Bruce Parry" and "Extreme Everest."

The BBC already has a BBC Food channel on YouTube and plans a comedy channel in the near future.

"The BBC is renowned for high quality programming and we're thrilled to expand and deepen our relationship with them," said Patrick Walker, YouTube's director of video partnerships. "The demand on YouTube for compelling, thought provoking, and entertaining videos like those offered by BBC Worldwide increases every day and we look forward to connecting both existing fans and new viewers with their content."