Former Nickelodeon President, Vice-Chairman of MTV Networks, and CEO of Next New Networks, Herb Scannell is now President of BBC Worldwide America. With both his traditional expertise and new media savvy, Scannell will oversee the BBC America cable channel, the company’s worldwide production arm, sales and distribution, and BBC.com.
Scannell noted that his first and most important priorities on the job will be maximizing BBC America’s distribution on cable and satellite providers across the country, and ushering in “made in America” programming to help diversify BBC’s content offerings. What comes next could be a restructuring of BBC.com, at least from a content perspective.
Yes, BBC’s iPlayer has seen steady traffic growth in the past year, but the vast majority of those viewers come from the UK and are watching TV shows repurposed online. BBCAmerica.com, of course, caters to a US crowd, but lacks any original programming aside from behind-the-scenes shots and press junkets from BBC television shows.
Scannell certainly wasn’t tapped solely for his experience in terrestrial television and launching the career of Spongebob Squarepants. As a founder of one of the earliest online studios and entertainment networks, he knows how to create, market, distribute, and advertise against programming made for the web. Couple that with the strong rumors we’ve heard of content creators working on original web series for the BBC, and we should be watching “smart, innovative and irreverent” shows created in America and airing on BBC.com in the very near future.