BBC America is BBC's main US service. It is owned and operated by BBC Worldwide, although Discovery Communications handles some distribution functions. It is funded by advertising, like most BBC international services.
 
BBC America carries a significant amount of news content per day - all of it simulcast on BBC World. This is unusual for a cable channel that is not dedicated to news. However, BBC America management - particularly in recent years - has stressed that news is one of the most important parts of the BBC and has sought to leverage this.


BBC America's initial presentation was designed to closely emulate that of BBC One - from the balloons to the trailers, even to the channel voice. The DOG was designed to fit to BBC's international branding standards. The emulation was not perfect, at least not by 2001 - the trailer font was not Gill Sans, for example. Continuity was limited to a canned "This is BBC America", save for news, which managed to get a pre-recorded "Now, live from London, the BBC World News" announcement. The ident selection, too, seems to have been limited somewhat by 2001, with only a few in regular usage.


BBC America Presents...
1999
After BBC America's launch, BBC programmes broadcast on PBS stations in the US were prefixed with this ident, a subtle plug for the new channel...

BBC America Ident
2001
BBC America Ident
2001
BBC America Ident
2001
BBC America Sting
2001


BBC America Sting
2001
BBC America Sting
2001
BBC America Sting
2001
BBC America Sting
2001


BBC America Sting
2001
League of Gentlemen Promo
2001
Parkinson Promo
2001
Royle Family Promo
2001


BBC America changed its presentation style in April 2005 with a new set of idents, the news ident is more subdued than the other ones the channel uses.


BBC America Ident - Pool
2005
BBC America Ident - Skirt
2005
BBC America Ident - Astronaut
2005
BBC America Ident - Diver
2005


BBC America Ident - Opera
2005
BBC America Ident - Pinball
2005
BBC America Ident - Clone
2005
BBC America Ident - Hero
2005


BBC America Ident - Kiss
2005
BBC America Ident - Eyes
2005
BBC America Ident - News
2005
Saturday Night Comedy Promo
2005


Design firm mOcean was commissioned to create a new look for BBC America in early 2007, moving away from the predominantly white motif. For the first time, BBC America had its own separate logo - sort of. While the now-familiar BBC boxes remained the official logo, a red/white/blue "target-A" was introduced. The logo would prominently feature in idents (now mostly relegated to advert breaks) and promotions, being used as often as the BBC America logo itself. The look was finely executed and featured impressive CGI logo animation - particularly the main ident - but lasted just a few months.
 
Problems surface when a closer look is taken. The presence of an additional logo served to dilute the channel identity, not enhance it, especially when its use was haphazard - some promotions did not use the target-A at all, and some idents did not feature the words "BBC America" anywhere. More obviously, however, was the logo design itself. The logo was said to represent a bullseye target - but intentionally or not, the logo strongly resembles that of ABC. It is unknown whether this played a factor in its rather sudden removal.


BBCA Ident
2007
The main ident doesn't have a BBC logo in sight - but it's masterful regardless. Bucking the trend, it favors slick, abstract CGI over film or flat graphics, and as such it stands out from most of the branding BBCA has used - and most of the branding on US channels period.

BBCA Ident
2007
A series of filmed idents accompanied the standard CGI ones. BBCA adopted the slogan "A Little Brit Different" with the new look, and these idents were meant to be elaborate, unexpected references to British and European culture. Here, a normal crosswalk turns into the cover of Abbey Road.
 
By this time, idents were relegated to commercial breaks - and were extremely rare. Consequently, this is the only filmed ident we have in our possession.


Gordon Ramsay's F Word
2007
The endboards for BBC America during the "target" period were imaginative, appearing on glass billboards throughout the city. The target logo is only hinted at, not fully shown, so some examples survived after that logo was dropped. Avenir has been dropped as the station's font in favor of Avant Garde.

Hardware/The Underground
2007
BBC America was running a late-night block of comedies called "The Underground", which had its own presentation style. The target-A proved versatile during its short run - here, it's a button. The Underground was dropped along with the Circle-A.

Hyperdrive
2007
Here's where the seams start showing. For some reason, certain programs didn't use the classy "glass billboard" motif, using a completely different endboard style - without the circle-A. This promo for "Hyperdrive" throws the logo on at the very end, but not all shows using this endboard style did this.

Footballers Wives Overtime / In The City Promos
2007
BBC America frequently alters the titles of certain series when they are brought over. Two examples feature here. "In The City" has lost its "Hollyoaks" prefix - presumably because Hollyoaks was never brought over in the first place. And as extra time is referred to as "overtime" in American sports, the name of Footballer's Wives' spinoff was suitably altered.
 
It's worth noting that neither of the series mentioned here actually aired on the BBC in the UK: while the BBC runs the channel, it will import non-BBC series.


By Spring, the circle-A was erased from presentation, and a bare-bones, predominantly red look was put into place to coincide with a huge schedule overhaul. Many classic programmes were dropped, and nights were now themed: "Tuesday Nitro", "Sci-Fi Saturday", etc. The network logo has been split to two lines, with a much bigger BBC logo than before - perhaps a subtle realization of where the channel's brand equity lies...?


BBC America Ident - Field
2008
The main ident from BBC America, launched in Spring of 2007. A very flat, plain ident this time, different from the branding approach BBCA adopted in 2001 - but also somewhat refreshing. Originally, the "A Little Brit Different" slogan was used on this ident, but by early 2008 BBCA had adopted the slogan "One World".

Following is a selection of idents from the Spring 2007 - Spring 2008 period. If nothing else, these designs are quite creative, taking some surprising approaches to the BBCA brand.


BBC America - Cards
2008
BBC America - Leaves
2008
BBC America - Sunflower
2008
BBC America - Tomato
2008


Doctor Who Promo
2008
The generic 2008 promo for Series 3 of the new Doctor Who. This is the overall minimalist style of promotions (a simple white stripe) in use at the time. A short promotion for BBCAmerica.com is integrated into the promo - note that they're still using the old one-line logo.

Torchwood Promo
2008
Unlike Doctor Who, Torchwood is exclusive to BBCA, and makes its US premieres on the channel. For "feature" programmes such as this, simple text is used on the endboards.

BBC America's presentation was brought into line with BBC One on April 28, 2008. Promotional style, typeface, and graphics are once again identical to that used in the UK. Idents and presentation are produced in 16x9, but shown 4x3 letterboxed - an HD simulcast of BBC America is to launch later in the year.
 
BBC One's idents have also been adapted for the new look, and most of them seem to have been adapted with the exception of "Penguins" and "Neon". Several edits of each ident - including the full BBC One examples - have been created, but in many cases time-edited versions are aired. Initially, the slogan "One World" featured in the idents - with the same placement and font used for BBC One's logo. As of May 2008, the slogan has been removed from all idents.


BBC America Ident - Magic Forest
2008
Magic Forest got lost in the translation, as much of the "magic" part - the rearranging forest - was cut. The result makes it look more like a generic nature ident than anything else, which is a shame.

BBC America Ident - Moon
2008
Moon survived the trip to America intact. No noticeable cuts have been made, thankfully, as this is probably the most evocative ident of the circle look.

BBC America Ident - Helicopter
2008
Helicopter was recut quite a bit for its American iteration, but the fast-cut nature of the original ident lessens the overall impact of the cuts.

BBC America Ident - Football
2008
Football's edit was minor compared to some of the others - the first few seconds were trimmed out. It is somewhat surprising that this ident made it over to begin with, as BBC America does not carry football.

BBC America Ident - Kites
2008
Kites was severely trimmed in the transition, with quite a bit of the initial footage lost. The music has also been oddly altered here as well...

BBC America Ident - Surfers (Short Version)
2008
Short versions of the idents are also in use, alongside the main edits, simply skipping right to the logo formup in most cases. These stings can be seen primarily during news broadcasts. Here is Surfers, in its short variant.

The short variants of many of the idents are presented below. A majority of the BBC One idents have made the transition over to America - a far cry from the balloons, where only a few of them were adapted.


Bikes Short
2008
Kites Short
2008
Ring-a-Roses Short
2008
Magic Forest Short
2008


Click for larger image D.O.G.s
2008
It has to be noted that BBC America uses quite a few DOGs - even by American standards. The DOG was changed in mid-2007 when the new two-line logo was adopted, and moved to the bottom-right of the screen. A few months later, a DOG featuring the programme's name was added to the bottom-left (no other American channel does this). By the end of the year, large, permanent promotions for new shows or premieres - complete with logo - was added above the BBCA logo. Helpful information or a bad case of screen clutter? You decide...

BBC America has carried BBC News programming from its inception, simulcast from BBC World. Originally, these consisted of several scattered hour or half-hour blocks of BBC World each day - and as the channel aged, the amount of these blocks dwindled somewhat. However, from 2006 news programming became much more prominent, and BBC America began to put more promotion and funding towards the bulletins. Consequently, the BBC America simulcasts began to be more explicitly aimed at American audiences - particularly the early evening bulletin, which now originated from Washington. In 2007, that bulletin was relaunched as BBC World News America, with Matt Frei anchoring from Washington and Rome Hartman (formerly of CBS) executive producing.
 
Currently, BBC World airs a three hour simulcast in mornings, from 6:00 ET to 9:00 ET - this includes George Alagiah's World News Today. At 7:00 ET, BBC World News America, BBC America's "newscast of record" with Matt Frei airs. As of 29 February 2008, a new weekly version of BBC2's "Newsnight" airs on Friday evenings.


BBC America / BBC World DOGs
2005
Until around 2006, BBC America would cover up BBC World's DOG with its own. Nowadays they simply add their own transparent DOG, and BBC World's graphics come through unobscured.

BBC America News Ident
2005
BBC America's 2001 Union Jacks had something the BBC One dancers, introduced months later, did not - a "serious" ident to link into news. It's simple - wisps of red, white, and blue smoke - but as the "trendy" idents with union jacks imprinted on tongues were apparently deemed unsuitable for news, it does its job. This is a 2005 edit - the BBC America ident is moved to the bottom left corner. On the original ident, it was placed in the center.

BBC America News Ident
2005
BBC America's 2001 Union Jacks had something the BBC One dancers, introduced months later, did not - a "serious" ident to link into news. It's simple - wisps of red, white, and blue smoke - but as the "trendy" idents with union jacks imprinted on tongues were apparently deemed unsuitable for news, it does its job. This is a 2005 edit - the BBC America ident is moved to the bottom left corner. On the original ident, it was placed in the center.

BBC World News
2008
BBC America links to BBC World, from February 2008. The idea of having a special ident for news was dropped with the target-A, so one of the standard BBCA idents is followed by a generic sting before we cut right to headlines. While this is a full two months prior to the April rebrand, the "BBC World News" branding is already in use, owing to the fact that the channel - which had just been introduced in the US - was being marketed under that name.

BBC World News America
2008
BBCA's "newscast of record" launched in October 2007. While it is simulcast on BBC World and BBC News 24, it is produced specifically for BBC America. Rome Hartman (previously of the CBS Evening News) is executive producer, and Matt Frei presents from Washington.

Newsnight
2008
A new, weekly version of "Newsnight", culled from that week's programmes, began to air from 29 February 2008. BBC America is giving it a massive promotional push somewhat symbolic of its consideration of news as one of the cornerstones of the organisation. It is treated with deep respect - indeed, the promo labels it no less than "the BBC's flagship news and current events programme". Jeremy Paxman's inimitable style is heavily featured. The graphics style corresponds to the UK version, however a far more gaudy title sequence was adopted for this version.

BBC World News America
2008
World News America adopted the new Lambie-Nairn titles alongside the rest of BBC News in April 2008. The titles, interestingly, are based off of the regional titles, although WNA has its own endboard and retains its previous music. Between this and the new BBC America presentation, it almost seems as if America can be classified as a BBC One region...

BBC World News
2008
BBC World News as seen on BBC America. The holding animation at the beginning was changed to the BBC One style upon BBC World's relaunch - the first piece of channel presentation to do so.

Official Website
www.bbcamerica.com