- You may be looking for BBC Audio, another entity that is sometimes called "BBCA".
BBC America is a United States cable network owned and operated by BBC Worldwide. In 2009, it acquired first United States broadcast rights for the revived Doctor Who. It held the US rights for the initial broadcast of Torchwood, until it lost them to Starz beginning with the 2011 series.
BBC America's focus is the broadcast of primarily British — but not exclusively BBC —content to the United States. Because it is not run by the BBC proper it has to pay for its content like any other American broadcaster. Its independent status also allows it to funnel some of its budget into new works, which has made it a co-production partner on several BBC shows, including Steven Moffat's Jekyll. In 2010, it became the first American network to pay for the actual production of Doctor Who since the Fox Broadcasting Company's support of the 1996 telefilm, when it signed on to co-produce the two American-based episodes of series 6.  It also created a large range of original video content for its official series 5 Doctor Who website, and was the sole producer of The Ultimate Guide.
Commercial network[edit | edit source]
BBC America is budgeted independently of the BBC. This has had some consequences for its audience. It has created the need for the channel to run advertisements to generate revenue. This means that the programmes are edited to allow for these commercials. In some cases — such as unusually long episodes of Doctor Who like Journey's End — BBC America has aired versions missing significant portions of the BBC One versions (though it should be noted these are rebroadcasts of episodes previously aired by Syfy; BBCA did not begin airing episodes first-run until The Next Doctor). The need for the network to adopt a more traditionally American format can play havoc with the authorial intent of its shows. For instance, BBC America was the original American home of the ITV show, Primeval. To create a more standard American season, the network combined the first two British series into what it called "Season 1". This has led to some confusion between people used to its airing on BBC America and those more familiar with its original ITV broadcast. Such a scenario has not yet occurred with Doctor Who, however, with BBCA adhering to the season structure of the series, including Series 6 which was split into two sub-seasons in 2011.
Despite these drawbacks, the commercial revenue stream has provided the company with profits that it uses for the production of some new programming. Initially fueled by a desire to offer its own coverage of the 2008 US Presidential election, it originates its own news programming, distinct from BBC World News. Several British shows have received backing from BBCA beyond Jekyll. Robin Hood, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, and Jam & Jerusalem (known stateside as Clatterford) are amongst the projects that have received BBCA backing. In 2010, BBCA funded not just Doctor Who, but also Primeval.
Nevertheless, BBCA is primarily a distributor, not a producer. As a commercial network, it must bid for the right to show BBC programming like any other network in America. It has not always won the right to debut BBC shows in America. It failed to receive the initial rights to the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures, for instance — but it was the original American home for Torchwood, though it subsequently lost the rights after Children of Earth and Miracle Day aired on the Starz network. However, it did broadcast Miracle Day in 2013.
On May 28, 2009, it was announced that BBC America had won the initial US broadcast right to Doctor Who beginning with The Next Doctor and the 2009 specials. The length of their right to originate Doctor Who episodes in the US is unknown, but has shown no sign of ending.
Except for The End of Time, a two-parter that is shown in a three-hour block, all Doctor Who episodes airing on BBCA are edited to fit a 60-minute timeslot which typically allows for 44-45 minutes of programming and 15 minutes of advertising along with spots promoting BBCA original programs. This requirement has only affected episodes aired in reruns, rather than the original broadcasts (such as of The Eleventh Hour and A Christmas Carol).
On the 6 September, 2018, the network had been announced to be screening every episode from the BBC Wales era, starting on the 25 September at 6AM, billed as The 13 Days of Doctor Who, and leading up to the premiere of Series 11.
On demand services[edit | edit source]
In some parts of the United States, BBC America runs a secondary service called "BBC America On Demand". For an additional fee, subscribers receive largely commercial-free versions of the shows running on BBC America. Thus, in a sense the network does offer some BBC content in more or less the way it was intended to be seen.
Home media sales[edit | edit source]
Through a relationship with the BBC America Shop, headquartered in Pennsylvania, the network drives sales of Region 1 DVDs of its programs. Although the shop is not the only outlet for BBC Video sales in North America, it is the de facto "official provider" for BBC America, and a major supporter of the BBC America website.
The fact that the network provides an American home for some British shows creates a business rationale for releasing them to the Region 1 market. Shows like Torchwood and Jekyll would likely not have received a speedy Region 1 DVD release without the involvement of BBC America. Beginning with the DVD release of the Children of Earth miniseries, DVD and Blu-Ray release of Doctor Who and Torchwood product have now been occurring within weeks (sometimes even days in a few cases) of broadcast on BBC America.
Original DWU content[edit | edit source]
- The Ultimate Guide; 17 April 2010
- Doctor Who: Rewind; 23 April 2011
- Doctor Who in America; 30 April 2011
- Best of the Doctor; 13 August 2011
- Best of the Monsters; 20 August 2011
- Best of the Companions; 27 August 2011
- Best of the Christmas Specials; 24 December 2011
- The Science of Doctor Who; 4 August 2012
- The Women of Doctor Who; 11 August 2012
- The Timey-Wimey of Doctor Who; 18 August 2012
- The Destinations of Doctor Who; 25 August 2012
- Doctor Who in the U.S.; 29 September 2012
- The Brit List: The Doctor Who Ultimate List of Lists; 21 December 2012
- The Doctors Revisited - The First Doctor; 27 January 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Second Doctor; 24 February 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Third Doctor; 31 March 2013
- The Companions; 31 March 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Fourth Doctor; 28 April 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Fifth Doctor; 26 May 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Sixth Doctor; 29 June 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Seventh Doctor; 27 July 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Eighth Doctor; 31 August 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Ninth Doctor; 29 September 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Tenth Doctor; 27 October 2013
- Doctor Who: Tales from the TARDIS; 18 November 2013
- Doctor Who: Explained; 22 November 2013
- The Doctors Revisited - The Eleventh Doctor; 24 November 2013
- Farewell to Matt Smith; 25 December 2013
- Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion; 16 August 2014
- The Real History of Science Fiction: Time; 16 August 2014
- Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord; 18 August 2014
- Doctor Who: Earth Conquest - The World Tour; 22 August 2014
- Doctor Who: Live Pre-Show; 23 August 2014
- Doctor Who: After Who Live; 23 August 2014
- The Doctor's Finest; 15 August-18 September 2015
In addition, the original BBCA broadcast of Let's Kill Hitler included a sponsor commercial that featured a "motion comic" expanding on a scene involving Amy Pond and Rory Williams engaging in a motorcycle chase. This sequence was unique to the BBCA broadcast and has not been released to DVD nor aired outside the US.