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Jana Bennett to join BBC Worldwide as President, Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer

2 December 2010

Jana Bennett to join BBC Worldwide as President, Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer

Tasked with driving international growth and editorial stewardship of 40-strong channel portfolio in over 100 markets globally from Australia to Argentina

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, today announces the appointment of Jana Bennett as President, Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer.

Bennett, who takes up her new position in February 2011, will have responsibility for BBC Worldwide’s wholly-owned BBC-branded channels and for BBC Worldwide’s 50% shareholding in UKTV. Bennett will also be responsible for the Global iPlayer, part of BBC Worldwide’s multi-platform distribution strategy for delivering British television content internationally, and due to pilot in the first half of 2011.

BBC Worldwide’s wholly-owned channels include BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies and BBC HD and are available in over 100 markets. UKTV, where Bennett has been a board director since 2002, has 10 UK channels, including Dave, Watch and Yesterday.

Comments from John Smith, CEO of BBC Worldwide

Commenting on the appointments, John Smith, CEO of BBC Worldwide, said: “Jana’s track record in commissioning and producing world-class content across the whole spectrum of genres is second to none. I have worked with her for many years, and have long harboured a wish to bring her talents into BBC Worldwide. I am delighted she is joining us in a role where her editorial skills, her understanding of what the BBC means, and her knowledge of launching and running successful channels will be harnessed globally.

“We have launched 26 channels over the last four years, and have high ambitions for them. They are a primary focus of investment and a key means of showcasing quality British content to consumers around the world. Jana will drive them to the next level on every front – reach, ratings, revenue and editorial excellence. In digital services, Jana’s contribution to the launch and ongoing success of the UK iPlayer, and her oversight of the launch of the BBC’s red button service, along with her programming expertise, qualify her perfectly to lead the Global iPlayer.”

Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, commented: “Jana has been an outstanding creative leader of the BBC and a very supportive executive colleague. Her passion for the craft of television has resulted in our channels being in the strongest shape for a decade. Reach, quality and approval are all the highest levels ever. Her understanding of what makes great television and what audiences want has led to a sustained period of creative success, and she is just the person to take our international channels to the next level and oversee the creation of a successful Global iPlayer.”

Jana Bennett's remarks

"I always said it would take something pretty special to get me to consider another job in broadcasting. Well, the chance to manage and grow BBC Worldwide’s portfolio of channels was just that challenge. And when you add in the possibilities we have with the Global iPlayer it was something that I knew I just had to do.

“I have had an incredible time during my eight years as Director of BBC Television and then Director of BBC Vision. I have seen our portfolio of channels grow and have worked with the very best talent that the UK’s creative industries have to offer. The sheer variety and pace of life in the role has been breathtaking but I go knowing that BBC Vision is in great shape. It is a phenomenal powerhouse of creative achievement and I am sure it will continue to flourish.

“For me, however, I am looking forward to an amazing opportunity in an international role at BBC Worldwide, where I hope to grow the reputation of the BBC around the world still further.”

During her time as first Director of BBC Television and then Director BBC Vision Bennett has built a hugely successful portfolio of channels which have bucked the trend to be the only group to increase reach, share and AI scores during 2010.

BBC One remains the UK’s most watched channel increasing its share in peaktime while BBC Two maintains its lead over its rivals and has increased its factual share by 7%. BBC Three is now the most watched digital channel in its hours and BBC Four has seen its share increase by over 10% in this year alone.

During her tenure, the BBC has won widespread recognition and acclaim for its television output, including BAFTA, RTS, BPG and Grierson awards to name just a few. Indeed BBC Vision has received more awards for its content than all the other UK broadcasters combined.

Alongside this Jana has launched BBC HD, BBC One HD and has been responsible for delivering award-winning multiplatform content across television, broadband and mobile platforms. Recent successes include EastEnders spin off E20, and the Wildlife Finder. Her division was also heavily involved in the launch and on-going success of the BBC iPlayer.

Creatively during her tenure, BBC television has been responsible for some of the most ground breaking and critically acclaimed shows of the last decade. The programmes range from natural history landmarks, such as Life to science and arts programming with Wonders Of The Solar System and Modern Masters. She has also been central to the creation and growth of worldwide entertainment hits including Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice and Top Gear.

Within fiction Bennett and her team have commissioned comedies such as Outnumbered, Gavin & Stacey, Miranda, The Thick of It and Little Britain. Dramas have ranged from period classics like Cranford to contemporary pieces such as Criminal Justice and Occupation, from science fiction in the shape of Torchwood and Doctor Who to detective series such as Life on Mars, Wallander, Being Human and, most recently, Sherlock.

Further information

can be found at:

News submitted by Esther Brown Head of Corporate Communications, BBC Worldwide 
Address: MC1C6, Media Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ, UK
T: 020 8433 2506 M: 07967 822 719