Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 18:00 UK

BBC will share video with papers

screen grab of YouTube partner channel page
The BBC already has a video sharing agreement with YouTube

The BBC is to share some of its video news material with newspaper websites for the first time.

Four national newspapers - the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Independent - will be able to use content free of charge.

The BBC said the move was the best way to sustain public-service content.

But ITN said it would write to the BBC Trust warning that the plan risked "pulling the rug" out from underneath private news providers.

The Telegraph said the move was a step in the right direction. Previously, newspapers have complained that the BBC has stifled their efforts to expand online.

They have criticised the BBC for using the licence fee to break into new media, while their own businesses are suffering from a downturn in advertising.

'Wider distribution'

The BBC's media correspondent Torin Douglas said the agreement, which begins on Tuesday, marked something of a thaw in relations between the Corporation and commercially-funded media.

Other newspaper websites could sign up later, he said.

Newspapers will be able to choose content relating to UK politics, business, health, and science and technology, provided it has already appeared on the BBC News website.

The BBC's plans to offer free video content to newspaper websites risk undermining the demand for content from independent news providers
John Hardie
ITN chief executive

Mark Byford, the corporation's deputy director general and head of journalism, said the genres had been chosen as a good cross-section of its public service news output.

"The way the public is consuming video and audio online is changing and audiences are increasingly expecting news content to be available wherever they are, rather than always having to navigate to destination sites," he said.

"We hope this wider distribution will extend audience reach to BBC content."

But ITN Chief Executive John Hardie said the initiative could distort the market for video news online.

"The BBC's plans to offer free video content to newspaper websites risk undermining the demand for content from independent news providers, potentially undercutting a very important revenue stream," he said.

"The pressure on commercial news suppliers has never been greater, which is why ITN has led the way in opening up valuable new lines of business, and the BBC's latest move risks pulling the rug from under us."

The BBC already has a video sharing agreement with YouTube which allows the site to screen short clips of its content.

The corporation is currently under pressure to share not just material but money with other broadcasters.

The government has outlined proposals to allocate 3.5% of the licence fee to other broadcasters, including ITV, to fund the provision of regional news and children's programming.



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