BBC and AJE Switch into High Gear for U.S. Audience

Zeinab Badawi is a BBC World News anchor

The BBC has gained a bigger foothold in the U.S. market after landing a deal with communications giant Comcast. The arrangement allows for BBC World News to be seen in up to 15 million homes by the end of 2012. When the “Beeb” first secured 24-hour carriage on Cablevision in 2006, the corporation launched a morning news show called World News Today (later rebranded as GMT) aimed at the American audience.  BBC World News America followed in late 2007.

But in announcing the deal with Comcast, we could not find any evidence to suggest more programming would be launched for us Yanks. We reached out to the BBC for clarification. Below is our Q’s & A’s.

1. Will more programming be launched at the U.S. in light of the arrangement with Comcast?

A BBC spokesperson said: “We believe the strength and attraction of the offer from BBC World News is its international journalism from around the world. That will continue to be our main focus and we don’t envisage major changes to the schedule.”

2. With the extended reach into more homes be supported by a marketing push?

A BBC spokesperson said: “We will be marketing our services on TV and online across the regions and cities that will be able access the channel through Comcast’s Xfinity TV. Whilst it’s important we raise awareness of the availability of channel, we know the hunger from US audiences for smart international news is strong.

But another competitor has already modified its schedule in preparation of the 2012 U.S. elections. Al-Jazeera English is broadcasting its flagship discussion show Inside Story from Washington. Episodes will also cover stories of importance in North and South America.

Photography: Courtesy of BBC

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