BBC News streamlines output with merger of news channels

BBC has merged its domestic news channel and world feed into a single entity, now known as BBC News. BBC News Channel formerly operated domestically in the United Kingdom while BBC World News operated around the globe. 

With the consolidation, the two channel lineups have been merged with the exception of local news opt outs for the U.K. audience. 

This is not the first rebranding for BBC News Channel, with BBC News 24 used from launch until 2008.

Overall, the new strategy has drawn strife internally with Deadline reporting management is worried a reduction in U.K. news will damage viewing figures and dilute the brand. This may ultimately lead to the threshold for the domestic opt outs lowered, effectively creating two feeds anytime a U.K. story demands it. 

“If they do really lower the bar, you could end up effectively with two channels all over again,” noted a network source to Deadline. 

“Our aim is to create the best live and breaking news on both TV and on digital platforms, where more and more audiences are getting their news. We need to modernise the way we deliver the news – while addressing the financial challenges we face,” wrote Naja Nielsen, digital director, BBC News, in a blog post responding to the merger.

“The channel will be a single operation with two different feeds, just as now, so viewers in the UK and internationally will sometimes see the same content, sometimes different. We will always respond to breaking and developing news in the UK on the UK TV feed,” wrote Nielsen.

On air, viewers would be hard-pressed to notice the merger unless they were paying attention to a few key elements, with the existing insert graphics and bumpers still in use.


The main titles, however, have been tweaked to accommodate the current BBC Chameleon brand standards – which places the BBC logo at the top of the screen with the division name at the bottom.

During the countdown sequence, this update becomes very apparent, with the countdown clock relocated from the lower right to the center of the screen.

Clean Feed notes a larger redesign of the titles and motion graphics was in the works for the merger, but cost and timelines ultimately put the plans on hold. That rebrand is slated to formally bring the Chameleon branding to the news division instead of the current hodge-podge approach. 

Clean Feed also notes that a complete recreation of the Lambie-Nairn-designed globe titles is being developed to better incorporate the brand standards in the meantime.

Nielsen downplayed the rebranded channel’s launch, noting the gradual change.

“People should not expect any kind of ‘big bang’ at the beginning of April – we’re bringing in the changes gradually, in a phased roll-out, so things will continue to alter over the coming months. We want to keep the best of what we do at the moment, while introducing better ways of reporting what matters,” wrote Nielsen.

The revised news channel is also making significant changes on the presenting side, with a number of anchors pulled from the rotation. Deadline notes the network has five Chief Presenters with upwards of 10 U.K.-based presenters removed from the hosting rotation due to the relaunch.