BBC World News signs new US distributor

LONDON - The BBC has found a new distributor for its world news bulletins in the US following a disagreement with the current contract-holder about the quality of the output.

New York TV station WLIW, which has distributed the daily 30-minute news programme since 1998, has said it will let the contract lapse when it comes up for renewal in October.

The channel said it felt the BBC World News bulletin, which it broadcasts to around 200 American public TV channels in the PBS network, did not provide enough context for viewers.

In an interview with The New York Times, Neal Shapiro, the president of WLIW parent company Educational Broadcasting, said: "I thought the show we had was not as good as it could have been."

He also claimed that the BBC had proposed limiting the number of public TV stations that were allowed to air the bulletin, in an attempt to push viewers towards its own BBC World News channel.

BBC America also broadcasts a separate tailor-made US news bulletin, BBC World News America, which launched late last year and is fronted by Washington correspondent Matt Frei.

Shapiro said: "It would have meant 60 to 70% of the public broadcasting audience would lose access to the show."

BBC World News has signed a deal with Californian public TV station KCET to distribute the bulletins when the contract with WLIW expires in October.

Richard Sambrook, the BBC director of global news, said in a statement: "We are committed to serving our loyal US audience with the unique global perspective that BBC World News provides.

"We are therefore delighted that KCET will be our new partner in this endeavor, securing distribution of our news to all markets into the future."

A BBC World News spokeswoman had not responded to Shapiro's comments by the time of publication.

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