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29 October 2014
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BBC Worldwide Annual Review 2001/2 – Highlights

BBC Worldwide Channels

BBC Worldwide's global network of wholly-owned and joint venture channels now cumulatively reach more than 460 million homes, a rise of 27% on last year's distribution figure of 365 million homes. No other British media company has this channel reach.

BBC Worldwide Channels - Distribution (millions of homes)

Wholly owned:

% increase
BBC World
BBC Prime
BBC America

In Partnership:

% increase
With Flextech Television – a division of Telewest Communications plc:
UK Horizons
UK Style
UK Drama
UK Gold
UK Gold 2
UK Food (launched November 2001)
With Discovery Communications Inc. (DCI):
People + Arts Latin America
Animal Planet Asia
Animal Planet Latin America
Animal Planet Europe
Animal Planet US
With DCI and NetStar:
Animal Planet Canada (launched September 2001)
With DCI and Jupiter Programming Company:
Animal Planet Japan
With FOXTEL and FremantleMedia:
UKTV (Australia)
With Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc:
BBC Canada (launched September 2001)
BBC Kids (launched November 2001)

International Television

BBC Worldwide is Europe's biggest exporter of television programming.

Television sales, boosted by strong format sales, grew by 15% from £150 million to £172 million against a flat market in 2001/2.

Best selling titles were The Weakest Link, now aired in 75 countries and one of our most profitable formats ever, contributing £10 million in sales; Top of the Pops, now in 90 countries; The Blue Planet* now in more than 40 countries, Walking with Beasts* in 47 countries (* both series were products of the partnership with Discovery), and the BBC/A&E co-production of Conan Doyle's The Lost World which sold to 23 countries.

In total, some 40,000 hours of programming were exported during the year.


BBC Magazines is the UK's third largest consumer magazines publisher with 31 titles. We sell 100 million magazines every year.

Figures for the National Readership Survey for January-December 2001 show that 16% of UK adults and 21% of ABC1 UK adults read a BBC magazine.

BBC Magazines outperformed its larger competitors and grew its circulation 2% year on year.

Children's magazines increased circulation within the pre-school market by 14% year on year and we publish the top seven best-selling pre-school titles in the market.

Radio Times continues to be the most profitable magazine in the UK.

Consumer Publishing - books

Top selling titles were Delia Smith's How to Cook: Book Three, The Blue Planet, Simon Schama's A History of Britain Volume II; Walking with Beasts: A Prehistoric Safari, Rick Stein's Seafood, Tweenies Annual 2002, and Alan Titchmarsh's How to be A Gardener: Book One which was BBC Worldwide's fastest-selling gardening hardback ever.

New auto/biographies in the year included Sir Clement Freud's Freud Ego, Bob Harris's The Whispering Years and Gerry Anderson's What Made Thunderbirds Go!

Consumer Publishing – audio

The acquisition of Chivers Communications plc, and Cover to Cover Cassettes Ltd the year before, has meant dramatic growth for BBC Worldwide's spoken word business, now marketed as BBC Audiobooks.

The combined businesses now have a market share of over 30% with sales of £26 million and achieved double-digit growth in 2001/2.

The first four Harry Potter novels, licensed to BBC Worldwide under the Cover to Cover acquisition, were audio bestsellers during the Christmas period as well as Radio 4's highly acclaimed original dramatisation of The Lord of the Rings.

Consumer Publishing – video and DVD

BBC Worldwide recognised the potential of DVD early on and is gradually migrating a wide range of titles from its back catalogue to the new format.

Our video and DVD business grew at double the industry average during the financial year with DVD sales rising by 382%.

DVD best sellers included The Blue Planet, The League of Gentlemen, The Old Grey Whistle Test, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

VHS still continues to perform strongly and our top selling titles were The Blue Planet, Walking with Beasts, The League of Gentlemen: Series Two, Absolutely Fabulous: Series Four and Only Fools and Horses.

Tweenies and Teletubbies' titles were the children's video bestsellers, selling over a million copies between them in the UK alone.


The global popularity of Tweenies and Teletubbies continues.

This year saw a new Mandarin version of Teletubbies launched in China to over 300 million children and the series is now seen in 120 countries and in 45 languages.

Tweenies topped many Top Ten lists. An average of 190,000 Tweenies magazines are bought every month and more than 2.4 million Tweenies books and 2.3 million videos have been bought since launch.

Children's book titles linked to the first Harry Potter film, Bob the Builder ranges, The Blue Planet and Walking with Beasts were also strong sellers during the year.

BBC Worldwide Learning

BBC Worldwide Learning has made new inroads into broadcasting and new media with the launch of branded learning TV blocks on BBC Prime and the development of a new international website –

Children's learning became the UK's number one schools supplier of videos and the top-selling publisher in four separate subject areas for primary schools: geography, history, religious education and music.

Two new integrated media products for English language teaching were launched successfully in ten countries and BBC Worldwide retained its position as market leader in the adult education sector for foreign language learning in the UK.


BBC Music achieved significant sales growth and critical acclaim this year.

Our children's music business went from strength to strength, benefiting from strategic partnerships with major distributors; Koch Entertainment in North America and Canada and Universal Music International in the rest of the world (excluding the UK).

The Top of the Pops brand saw more than 300,000 albums sold and its inaugural awards show attracting major international music talent.

The Blue Planet theme music was released on CD and resulted in a unique concert.

Bob the Builder, whose chart-topping success around the world was emulated by the Tweenies, sold more than 375,000 copies of his number one hit Mambo No 5 in the UK.

Our Partnership with Opus Arte also performed well, with the launch of a range of DVDs and videos, including output from the Royal Opera House – The Nutcracker was the UK's best selling classical title.

BBC Multimedia

BBC Multimedia, the software publishing division of BBC Worldwide, recorded a 65% increase in revenues in 2001/2.

It publishes console and PC games, such as Robot Wars and Walking with Beasts, as well as interactive entertainment products for mobile phones and other platforms.

In addition, BBC Multimedia creates children's and reference titles for PC and consoles, such as Tweenies, Bob the Builder, and S Club 7.

Robot Wars was the best ever seller for BBC Multimedia - 250,000 units shipped in the UK on PC, PS2, GBA, and GBC in the last year.

Internationally, Bob the Builder Fix it range was by far the biggest seller, selling over 500,000 units on PC, PSOne and GBC in the USA and Canada under licence to THQ.

BBC Audiocall

BBC Audiocall provides a full response handling service, offering phone-in competitions, televotes, SMS services, information lines, DRTV services and web response services.

Clients include Channel 4, Channel 5, BBC Broadcast, BBC Worldwide, ITV, digital and satellite channels and advertising agencies.

BBC Worldwide Global Internet

BBC Worldwide developed its web-based products during the year, with the creation of a Global Internet division.

Supporting international programme sales, the company offers packaged web site content from the BBC to international broadcast partners.

These syndicated interactive properties, such as Walking with Beasts, The Blue Planet and Tweenies, allows broadcasters worldwide to support their programming output with an online presence.

Notes to Editors

BBC Worldwide's record £106 million contribution to BBC



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