How the BBC is using programmatic to promote the launch of its digital video store

BBC Worldwide is prepping its largest programmatic marketing campaign to support the launch of its digital video service which will generate additional revenue to supplement the licence fee.

BBC Store, which launches today (5 November), is operated by the broadcaster’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide and enables viewers to buy, download and keep digital copies of current BBC programmes including Sherlock, Doctor Who and David Attenborough’s natural history documentaries, as well as recent hits like The Fall and classic shows from the BBC archive.

The service will launch with 7,000 hours of content with an additional 50% to be added over the coming year at around 50-70 hours per week. Just 10% of the BBC’s archive has been made available previously so BBC Store will offer the most comprehensive collection of content to date.

Shows can be found and bought through BBC Store and iPlayer, with current programmes available for free via the streaming service for 30 days. Serial dramas such as Eastenders and Holby City will be available to purchase for the first time the day after being broadcast.

Consumers can also purchase a ‘series pass’ which will automatically add each episode of a show to ‘my programmes’ section as and when they are aired.

Boosting the BBC’s revenues

The move is designed to create additional revenue for the organisation, particularly considering the slowdown in DVD sales. The commercial revenue raised will also supplement the licence fee and help the BBC cover the estimated £700m cost of funding free TV licences for the over-75s.

Marcus Arthur, managing director of BBC Worldwide, says: “We have a big DVD business… we are probably the second or third biggest DVD distributor in the UK and we know that business has halved in the past four years so this gives us and [viewers] the opportunity to update what their habit was on DVD.”

He says the launch will add to BBC Worldwide’s overall revenue contribution to the BBC but that it would just be one strand of the strategy.

“We have promised to give the BBC £1.2bn in revenue over the next five years from BBC Worldwide. That’s 15% more than we did in the last five years,” he explains.

“BBC Store will play its part in that but this is not a massive market place. This isn’t going to be knocking the lights out in the sense of mass revenue growth. It’s about an ownership model that we know people will use so it will play its part in that £1.2bn but so will many other businesses – DVD, Netflix, LoveFilm, magazines, websites and books.”

BBC Worldwide UK’s headline sales declined by 4.8% to £362.2m for the 2013/2014 financial year.

How programmatic will support the launch

A highly targeted programmatic campaign, featuring stars including David Attenborough and Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi, will support the launch of BBC Store.

Sara Holt, vice-president of marketing for BBC Store, told Marketing Week: “This is the most programmatic campaign I’ve ever done. It’s quite hard for people to know the breadth of it because if you’re a drama viewer you will only see a drama-related promo, and if you’re a natural history viewer you will only see a natural history promo.

“Banners are also super targeted in terms of what people will get. We’ve got over 400 different assets going out which are all wrapped in different ways.”

Activity runs with the strapline ‘Making the unmissable, ownable’, which is an extension of the iPlayer tagline ‘Making the unmissable, unmissable’. Press, TV and out of home activity will also support the digital campaign.

Social will be “absolutely critical” to the launch too, both in terms of increasing awareness and future content selection.

Holt said: “We will be asking for people’s consensus on what [programmes] they would like to be brought back next with votes to come in the future.”

The organisation has hired a bespoke social team to implement the strategy and will be rolling out additional social content imminently.

“We are the makers and curators of this content; we know it better than anybody else. We have both the talent telling us what they love and we also have some of the best knowledge based on the curation piece.”

Going forward exclusive content will also be played out on BBC YouTube channels and BBC Store.

“We’ll have our own YouTube channel and will curate the best of what’s on YouTube, so the funniest clips, for example, with links to buy for the whole programme. We’ll also have some exclusive content, which will be streamed on YouTube as marketing activity; expect live streams. It will be a great cross-promotion job for us. We expect YouTube to have a symbiotic relationship with BBC Store.”

To help encourage the shift to buying digital content, BBC Store is offering users a 25% discount off their first purchase. BBC Store gift cards will also be available in Asda, Sainsbury’s, WHSmith and Wilco in the run up to Christmas.

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