Universal Music, BBC Worldwide unlock the doors to broadcast archive

MUMBAI: In a deal struck with BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, Universal Music has exclusively licensed the rights to exploit content relating to its portfolio of artists from the corporation's extensive archive of TV and radio content. In addition, Universal will work with BBC Worldwide to identify archive material which could create new broadcast programming opportunities in the UK and overseas.

The archive covers the entire history of rock and pop, as well as including hundreds of hours of classical music. Universal and BBC Worldwide are identifying programme material relating to artists in the Universal stable - including U2, Elton John, The Who, Cream, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Bee Gees, The Police, ABBA, and The Cure - which can be used to create a wide range of product for global release.

Under the terms of the licence, BBC archive material of Universal artists could be used to produce, in conjunction with the artists, a wide range of commercial products, including albums, DVDs and downloads. The first music to be used from the BBC archive under the new deal is the 27 tracks included on Universal’s Top 10 Cream retrospective I Feel Free - Ultimate Cream. The deal is unique in its potential to deliver both commercial value and public service benefit to the BBC. Material from both the BBC and Universal's archives becomes available, creating a pool of distinctive audiovisual content that the BBC can draw upon to create new music-related programming for broadcast in the UK, and for BBC Worldwide to exploit internationally.

The arrangement is expected to reward both BBC Worldwide and Universal Music with further strategic benefits, as both companies work together to maximise the value of the unique BBC archive, and deepen the relationship between the broadcaster and the music industry going forward. The deal is the first of its kind between BBC Worldwide and a key music industry partner, and is part of the company's strategy to work with the music industry in deriving greater value from the wealth of music-related material in the corporation's archive.

Universal Music chairman Lucian Grainge said, "The BBC archive offers a wealth of material that will be of interest to fans of our strong portfolio of heritage and new music artists. I am delighted to have led the way for the music industry in working with the BBC to unlock this valuable resource." BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith said, "The BBC has always worked closely with the music industry to showcase talent and bring the latest new music to its audiences. This arrangement with Universal is not only a good example of the BBC and BBC Worldwide commitment to partnering with the commercial sector, but also builds on the public value of the assets we have."

The BBC television archive, which encompasses over 500 million feet of film, or 400,000 hours of video, from the 1930s to the present day, includes a wide range of footage relevant to Universal Music's portfolio of artists.

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