BBC News Launching on CTV/FAST Platforms

AMC Networks and BBC Studios, the commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group, March 13 announced the launch of BBC News as a 24-hour live news channel on a variety of CTV/FAST platforms. Initial launch partners are Pluto TV, Samsung TV Plus, Xumo Play, Vizio WatchFree+, Sling Freestream and Plex.

The BBC News channel delivers 24-7 coverage of breaking news and moments of global significanc. AMC Networks is the distribution and sales representative for BBC News in the United States through its BBC America joint venture.

As part of the BBC’s expansion in North America, BBC News has grown its news operation out of its Washington, D.C., bureau, expanding its nightly primetime coverage and developing programming focused on national news to better serve audiences in the United States and around the world, according to the news organization. BBC News live 24-hour coverage is anchored out of the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. The channel features chief presenters including Sumi Somaskanda and Caitríona Perry in Washington,D.C.; Matthew Amroliwala, Christian Fraser, Lucy Hockings, Maryam Moshiri and Sally Bundock in the United Kingdom; and Steve Lai in Singapore.

“This is a significant milestone for the BBC as this launch will more than double the current reach and availability of the BBC News channel in the U.S. at a time when access to independent news and information is more important than ever,” Tara Maitra, chief commercial officer of global media and streaming for BBC Studios, said in a statement. “We’re proud to launch this channel with the support of so many of the leading CTV/FAST platform partners as we continue to expand the footprint of BBC News and bring the BBC’s journalism to wider audiences in the region.”  

“What a profoundly meaningful addition to the rapidly growing CTV/FAST space, at a time when access to authoritative and impartial news could never be more important,” Kim Kelleher, chief commercial officer of AMC Networks, said in a statement. “The BBC is one of the largest, most-trusted and comprehensive news-gathering organizations in the world. The arrival of BBC News as a live, 24-hour channel on these free platforms is a landmark moment for global news, our partner platforms and the entire FAST distribution ecosystem.”

“This latest addition to our news offering expands our diverse programming lineup and gives us the opportunity to reach an even wider audience via a well-respected and trusted international news source,” Amy Kuessner, EVP of programming for Pluto TV, said in a statement. “In today’s day and age, free round-the-clock access to a strong audience-centric news brand like BBC News is indispensable.”

“Live local and national news has always been a top performing category on Xumo Play, and with the addition of BBC’s 24/7 live coverage, our viewers can now enjoy a fresh, international perspective on major news moments happening across the world,” Stefan Van Engen, VP of programming and partnerships for Xumo, said in a statement.

“Samsung TV Plus is committed to providing a platform for a variety of global, national, and local news sources to share important updates that our consumers rely on,” Sarah Nelson, head of BD and strategic partnerships, Samsung TV Plus, said in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with BBC Studios and AMC Networks to bring this 24-hour live news channel to our viewers, empowering them to stay informed and engaged with the world around them.”

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This additional CTV/FAST distribution of BBC News is complementary to existing wide distribution on pay-TV platforms including DirecTV, Comcast’s Xfinity, Charter’s Spectrum, YouTube TV, Philo, Dish and others. BBC News programming includes popular flagship shows such as “Verified Live,” “BBC News America,” “Newsday,” “Influential with Katty Kay,” and “World Business Report” plus “The Travel Show,” “Click,” and “BBC Documentaries.”

BBC News Expands U.S. Digital Presence With Former Peacock, NPR Executive Hires

BBC News Oct. 24 announced it has hired two new executives for its U.S.-based digital operations. Jen Brown joins as SVP of programming and content strategy, global digital news and streaming. She will be responsible for defining the wider content strategy for the BBC’s news and factual digital platforms outside of the U.K. Brown will be based in New York, reporting directly to Jennie Baird, EVP, managing director, global digital news and streaming.

Saeed Ahmed joins as head of digital journalism, U.S. for BBC News, overseeing the company’s digital news content aimed at U.S. audiences. Ahmed will be based in Washington, D.C., and report to Stuart Millar, digital executive news editor.

Jen Brown

The newly created management roles will work with teams across the organization to enhance the BBC’s presence in the U.S. as the company doubles down to meet the increasing demand for its news content in the region.

“The U.S. is a highly innovative and exciting market for digital journalism in text, video and audio,” Naja Nielsen, digital director for BBC News, said in a statement. “In a highly polarized time, we believe we have a very compelling and strong offer and that many more Americans would love to know and consume our journalism, known for being impartial, accurate and transparent, always in the pursuit of truth, reporting without fear or favor.”

Saeed Ahmed

Brown is a 16-year veteran of NBCUniversal, where she most recently helped launch its streaming service, Peacock. As SVP of program planning and content partnerships, Brown led planning across originals, acquisitions, topical content and FAST channels. She won an Emmy for Peacock’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Previously, Brown served as SVP of strategic initiatives at NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, a team tasked with accelerating digital growth across the company and overseeing NBCU’s digital investments. Brown also spent over 10 years at NBC News, where she developed programming that reached new audiences and expanded commercial opportunities.

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Ahmed joins the BBC from NPR, where he most recently served as director of digital news, overseeing the organization’s digital presence across its website, social, streaming platforms, newsletters and smart speakers. Prior to that, he was the assistant managing editor at CNN Digital. His work has won numerous awards including an Emmy, Webbys and a Peabody.

Ahmed was born in Bangladesh, raised in the Middle East and attended Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Earlier this year, BBC News announced plans to double its digital journalism team in North America to further enhance the BBC’s ability to cover major breaking stories and provide more in-depth analysis from the region.

BBC News reaches 50 million consumers weekly in the U.S. across multiple platforms.