BBC News Enters FAST Game In America

BBC News is entering the growing free ad-supported TV (FAST) game in the U.S.

AMC Networks and BBC Studios unveiled the launch today of a 24-hour live news channel and have landed distribution with a number of partners including Pluto, Samsung TV Plus and Sling Freestream.

The FAST channel will operate in a similar way to the rolling BBC News channel, which delivers 24/7 coverage of breaking news and “moments of global significance,” AMC and BBC Studios said.

BBC News has been making enforced cuts of late to its UK and global output but has expanded in the U.S., where the FAST channel is launching. The news outfit has grown its operation in its Washington DC bureau and anchors coverage from the UK, U.S. and Singapore with presenters including Sumi Somaskanda, Caitriona Perry and Christian Fraser.

“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,” said Tara Maitra, Chief Commercial Officer, Global and Streaming, BBC Studios. “We’re proud to launch this channel with the support of so many leading partners as we continue to expand the footprint of BBC News and bring the BBC’s journalism to wider audiences in the region.”

The move into the buzzy FAST space, which has dominated chatter at recent TV markets, is evidence of the BBC flexing its commercial muscles. BBC Studios recently bought out ITV’s share of streamer BritBox International for $322M. It operates numerous commercial channels abroad and makes money via its production and distribution arm.

AMC Networks is the distribution and sales rep for BBC News in the U.S. via its BBC America JV.

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