Who will pick up Beeb licences?

June 17th By Stuart Dinsey
After ten years, the BBC finally closed the doors on its software publishing division this week – but a scramble could yet spark for potential new video game tie-ins like Doctor Who.

BBC Multimedia, which was launched during the emergent era of PC CD-ROM, was confirmed within the corporation’s annual report as having been restructured from a publishing operation to a pure licensing model. From a heyday of 30 staff in a West London office and another 30 in a dedicated development studio, remaining staff such as erstwhile sales and marketing director Andrew Johnson departed this month.

Only a four-person team remains, managing the new licensing operation. GSP recently signed the PC back-catalogue, whilst new toy manufacturer Bubble has signed a number of kids properties for its interactive DVD system.

BBC Worldwide will now consider opportunities across all formats, including games, iDVD, mobile and broadband. Of most interest to software companies will be Doctor Who, as well as the BBC’s perennial brands such as The Weakest Link, Mastermind and Question of Sport.

Games publishers have already targeted Doctor Who, but a decision on whether to grant a licence will depend on the international success of the TV show and the proposed gaming concept.

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