The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known simply as the BBC, is a large broadcasting corporation. It has 28,000 employees in the United Kingdom alone and a budget of more than £4 billion.

Founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd, it was subsequently granted a Royal Charter and made a state-owned corporation in 1927. The corporation produces programmes and information services, broadcasting globally on television, radio, and the Internet. The stated mission of the BBC is "to inform, educate and entertain"; its motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation".

The BBC is a quasi-autonomous public corporation operating as a public service broadcaster. The Corporation is run by the BBC Trust; and is, per its charter, "free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners".

The BBC's domestic programming and broadcasts are primarily funded by levying television licence fees (under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949), although money is also raised through commercial activities such as sale of merchandise and programming. The BBC World Service, however, is funded through a grant-in-aid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As part of the BBC Charter, the Corporation cannot show commercial advertising in any services in the United Kingdom (television, radio, or internet). Outside the United Kingdom the BBC broadcasts commercially funded channels such as BBC America, BBC Canada, and BBC World. In order to justify the licence fee, the BBC is expected to produce a number of high-rating shows[citation needed] in addition to programmes that commercial broadcasters would not normally broadcast.

Domestic UK audiences often refer to the BBC as "the Beeb", a nickname coined by Kenny Everett. Another nickname, now less commonly used, is "Auntie", said to originate from the old-fashioned "Auntie knows best" attitude in the days when John Reith, the BBC's founder, was in charge. The two nicknames have also been used together as "Auntie Beeb", and Auntie has been used in outtakes programmes such as Auntie's Big Bloomers.

If the TV and radio services are combined, BBC is probably the largest broadcasting system in the world . It also claims to be the largest news gathering system by means of its regional offices, foreign correspondents and agreements with other news services. It reaches more than 200 countries and is available to more than 274 million households, to CNN's (its nearest competitor) estimated 200 million. Its radio service is in the short wavelength, which makes it available to many regions of the world. It also broadcasts news - by radio or in the Internet - in some 30 languages, and its total number of broadcasted radio hours per week is surpassed only by the Voice of America umbrella and the Chinese public radio. Being public, its revenue is not comparable to that of other media conglomerates, though, of which News Corporation is the largest. (Credit: Wikipedia).


Press Release

30th April 2008

Virgin Media and BBC partner to bring BBC iPlayer to TV

This is a joint press release from Virgin Media and the BBC

First time BBC iPlayer is available on a TV platform

Virgin Media (NASDAQ: VMED) today announced a partnership with the BBC to launch BBC iPlayer onto its platform, making its 3.5 million TV customers the first in the UK to get the popular service via a TV platform.

Viewers using BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media will be able to watch full screen pictures at full quality on their television set without the need for downloading.

As of today, Virgin Media customers will be able to catch up on their favourite BBC programmes by pressing the red button on any BBC channel.

Access to BBC iPlayer through Virgin Media's EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) menu is due this summer.

BBC iPlayer allows viewers to catch-up on over 350 hours of TV programmes from the past seven days, at no extra cost.

This includes shows such as EastEnders, Doctor Who, Gavin And Stacey, Top Gear and The Apprentice as well as documentaries such as Louis Theroux.

Malcolm Wall, CEO of Content at Virgin Media, said: “We're delighted to be the first TV platform in the UK to offer our customers BBC iPlayer as part of our on-demand service.

"The enormous success of iPlayer online has demonstrated the desire TV viewers have for viewing quality programmes at a time that suits them, and now it's available from the comfort of the living room.

"Virgin Media is proud to be working with the BBC to continue to lead this revolution in TV viewing."

Ashley Highfield, BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, said: "We have always envisaged BBC iPlayer on a TV platform and in the living room and are delighted that by working with Virgin Media, this ambition has today been realised.

"This partnership takes us a step closer to transforming the way our audiences watch TV.

"It also further underlines our commitment to making BBC iPlayer a multiplatform offering that appeals to a wide range of audiences."

Virgin Media has pioneered on-demand television in the UK with almost half (47%) of its 3.5 million TV customers regularly using this service.

The number of views per customer has grown in the last year from 10 to 23 times-per-month and in the last three months of 2007 there were 99 million views alone.

To find out more about Virgin Media's products and services visit

Notes to Editors

1. BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media

The number of hours of available programming on Virgin Media will increase as the iPlayer service grows. Further enhancements such as the integration of the highly successful BBC Radio Player are planned to be added in due course.

2. BBC iPlayer online

BBC iPlayer online continues to show significant growth with the total number of requests for downloads or streams of BBC programmes in the first three months of the year reaching 42 million. The average number of weekly users of BBC iPlayer reached 1.1 million in March, up from January's average of 75,000.

3. About Virgin Media

Virgin Media is an innovative and pioneering UK entertainment and communications business. For the first time consumers can get everything they need from one company – the UK's only quad play of TV, broadband, phone and mobile plus the most advanced TV on demand service available, the UK's first high definition TV service and V+, our high specification personal video recorder. We're the UK's largest residential broadband provider, the largest virtual mobile network operator and the second largest provider of pay TV and home phone.

Virgin Media owns two content businesses – Virgin Media Television (VMTV) and sit-up. VMTV owns seven entertainment channels – Virgin1, Living, Living 2, Bravo, Bravo 2, Challenge, and Trouble – and is a 50% partner in UKTV which consists of nine channels including Dave, UKTV Gold and UKTV History. sit-up runs retail TV channels bid tv, price-drop tv and speed auctiontv.

Virgin Media is the largest Virgin company in the world and has almost 10 million customers. To find out more visit

4. About BBC

The BBC exists to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain. It provides a wide range of distinctive programmes and services for everyone, free of commercial interests and political bias. They include television, radio, national, local, children's, educational, language and other services for key interest groups.

The BBC is financed by a TV licence paid by households. It does not have to serve the interests of advertisers, or produce a return for shareholders.




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