The BBC now hits almost 15 million homes
The BBC has made a deal with cable operator Comcast to distribute its BBC World News Channel, significantly expanding the broadcaster’s presence in the United States.
BBC World News is currently available in about 6 million households, but this pact will extend it to nearly 15 million homes through Comcast’s Xfinity TV Service by the end of 2012. While the BBC was already available in markets like New York and Washington D.C., most Comcast customers in metropolitan areas from Philadelphia to Chicago to Minneapolis will now receive it as well.
Also being added are Indianapolis, Portland, Boston, Northern California, Michigan and Western New England.
“This deal represents huge progress for BBC World News in the most competitive television marketplace in the world,” Peter Horrocks, the BBC’s Director of Global News, said in a statement. “We know that US viewers increasingly value the smart and impartial international journalism provided by the BBC.”
While 15 million homes is a paltry figure compared to major U.S. news networks, this represents a major extension of the BBC much like the one Al-Jazeera English has been attempting in the United States.
The Qatar-based network has gradually extended into markets like New York and Chicago, but despite a notable year of reporting on the Arab Spring it has not entirely shed its negative stimga in the U.S.
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The BBC also seems to see an opportunity given the percevied partisan nature of cable news networks like Fox News and MSNBC.
“The BBC is renowned for its journalistic integrity and audiences are increasingly hungry for an impartial view on global affairs,” Sandy Ashendorf, EVP of Network Distribution for BBC Worldwide America, said in a statement.
That would suggest the other news networks are not providing the American viewer what it wants. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but either way, isn’t “an impartial view on global affairs” supposed to be CNN’s job?
Perhaps, like its fellow British news outlet The Guardian, which recently expanded in the United States, the BBC believes Americans are ready to hear a global take on the news.