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BBC will refresh news website to target U.S. readers

The redesigned website will offer more-personalized news content for American visitors, a BBC official said this week.

The redesigned website will offer more-personalized news content for American visitors, a BBC official said this week.

Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, as it appeared in 2014.
Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, as it appeared in 2014. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) wants to make more waves with American news consumers.

Next year, the international version of the BBC News website will relaunch, with broader coverage of the 2024 presidential election in the United States and more-personalized content aimed at drawing more American news consumers to the brand.

The effort is part of a broader strategy aimed at generating more advertising revenue for BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC in charge of licensing and distribution outside the United Kingdom.

While the main BBC television and radio services are funded primarily through a tax imposed on British households that watch live TV, the broadcaster’s international business is self-supported through a mixture of advertising and content licensing deals.

In the United States, BBC America and BBC World News are distributed on cable, satellite and some streaming television services through a long-term agreement with AMC Networks. The AMC deal doesn’t involve the BBC News website, but some cross-promotion does happen, particularly on the global news channel.

Specific details of the news website, including how it plans to target American news consumers with personalized offerings, were not available. Tom Fussell, the CEO of BBC Studios, said the refreshed news portal will be “a great offering for [stateside] advertisers,” and the company is already recruiting more U.S.-based journalists to support the initiative.

BBC Studios is becoming an increasingly-important part of the BBC’s overall revenue, with the international arm grabbing around £2.1 billion (around U.S. $2.6 billion) through its licensing and distribution deals last year. The mandatory tax paid by British citizens, called a TV license, earned £3.8 billion (around U.S. $4.71 billion) in 2022.

In addition to its news website and television licensing deals, BBC Studios operates a number of free, ad-supported streaming channels that are carried on services like Pluto TV, including BBC Home, BBC Food and BBC Kids. BBC Studios is also a joint owner of Britbox, the subscription streaming service it operates with commercial broadcaster ITV.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).