Peter_pbn's profile



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Fri, Apr 16, 2021 9:03 PM

TV distributors

I would like a clarification in the guidelines because I see a lot of variation in the data.


British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [gb] is a company.

BBC One [gb] is one of the BBC's channels. It is not a separate company.

When the BBC airs a program on BBC One, which company name should be added as distributor?

If the answer is that it depends on how the distributor is credited, then what if there is no such credit?

Related, the Distributors guide is clear with regard to the BBC's streaming service:

Catch up streaming services such as USA Now or BBC iPlayer would come under the main production company for the channel (i.e. USA Network [us] and BBC [gb] respectively).*

*I think the text should say British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [gb] instead of BBC [gb] in keeping with the company name guidelines


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62.8K Points

25 d ago

I usually add the channel, since it’s the ”distributor” and from the historical point of view it’s the best option. But there are probably many people who add the company. 



8.5K Messages


266.7K Points

Often the channel name is added in the attribute field. If this is right, it could be mentioned in the guidelines.

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62.8K Points

I never use that method myself. I just don’t see why we should add every (e.g.) BBC channel as ”BBC”. There are different channels (past or current) that aired the program. They all have official names. They are all listed on IMDb (of course there could be duplicates etc). I just basically choose the correct one.


517 Messages


10.6K Points

I forgot to mention in my large post below that I add the:

Company/network with the type "all media"

TV channel with the type "TV"

517 Messages


10.6K Points

23 d ago

First BBC iPlayer is a VOD not a streaming service, and the BBC doesn't air programs it airs programmes, just like the majority of English speaking countries of the world.

Their streaming service is BritBox which BBC Studios owns 50% of outside of the UK with ITV owning the other 50%. As BBC Studios is funded by producing and distributing shows from the BBC and other networks (mainly ITV shows, yet ITV produce and distribute just as many, if not more BBC shows than the reverse, which is why ITV are the biggest producer of shows in the UK), it doesn't have to limit what it spends it's money on, as it's not funded by the TV licence.

Whereas in the UK ITV owns 90% of BritBox, with the BBC owning just 10%, as they aren't allowed to go splashing money on things, which 100% of TV licence payers don't have access to.

I add both the network and the channel because they're needed, and the same goes for every other British network. Sometimes British networks release shows on their respective VOD services (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, S4C Clic, Sky On Demand, Sky Go, Sky Q etc), before they appear on TV, like with a special TV episode I added recently. It appeared on BBC iPlayer 3 days before it was shown on TV, so this was a rare case of BBC iPlayer (along with an internet attribute, although the internet never used to be needed until smart TV's arrived) needing to be added, along with BBC One the TV channel.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the company.

BBC One is the most popular of it's channels.

There's also Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish versions of BBC One which show different things at certain times of the day, and the same goes for the 12 BBC Regions who also show different things at certain times of the day.

Those "certain times of the day" are mainly when local news or local soaps (as in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish soaps) are on.

The BBC tells you when, where and which specific channel a show has been broadcast on, and shows all it's previous broadcasts, to let you know if or when a show became national (which are the majority).

For example there's a documentary about my city nearly 3 years ago now, which isn't on IMDB yet, which consisted of segments which were shown on my local BBC One channel's news show every day for a week, along with shorter segments in various BBC websites and social media pages online. Then at the end of the week, or at the start of the next week, those segments were released as a full documentary nationally on BBC One.

And the same goes for some of the other BBC channels.

Having a show broadcast on the national BBC One channel, can show that it's popular.

The BBC mainly uses BBC Two to show repeats of BBC One daytime shows later in the afternoon or vice-versa, and also uses it to premiere new shows, mainly dramas which they don't expect will be popular at first. If they get enough viewers, then they can be promoted to BBC One.

The BBC mainly uses BBC Three to judge audience numbers for shows mainly aimed at teenagers and people in their twenties, like comedies and reality shows, with the most popular ones being repeated at a later date on BBC One or moved there permanently.

BBC Four is the channel which focuses on things like art and history, so barely get any viewers, which is why I've never understood why they moved BBC Three to online only, rather than get rid of BBC Four.

I noticed the other day a headline for a story from 3 weeks ago where the BBC have said they're going to be turning BBC Four into an archive channel (whatever that means) which it basically is anyway with its limited content and viewers.

It's also full of repeats from the other BBC channels.

A few years ago I wrote a list of every single national, regional and local, TV licence funded, BBC TV channel and BBC radio station (which I've kept updated with the minor changes in the last few years, like the changes to the Scottish channels), as there's not a single place on the internet which lists them all on one page. There's at least 100.

And I'm not talking about the national or international channels on other networks, which are owned and run by BBC Studios either, like the UKTV network (with Dave, Drama, Yesterday, Eden, Gold, W, Alibi) and BBC America, BBC Brit, BBC First etc.

I had that list written in a comment under a question someone had posted on Quora, about the number of BBC channels and radio stations, however I've now just noticed that the question seems to have disappeared or has been edited, and comments no longer appear under questions on Quora

I thought I had my list saved somewhere in my private blog too, but I can't find it when I search for it using terms like "BBC radio stations" and "BBC TV channels."

A few months ago I emptied some of the incorrect BBC labelled companies on IMDB, by removing the incorrect ones, and adding the correct companies.

I also corrected most, if not all of the people with BBC in their names.

However there's still no doubt a lot of BBC containing companies and people which either need deleting or merging, once they've been emptied and corrected, as they don't, and have never existed.

For example:

There's never been a BBC 2 in the Philippines With BBC 2 (Sorted by Popularity Ascending) - IMDb and

There's never been a man called Steven Sackur Bbc Stephen Sackur Bbc - IMDb

Therefore they both need deleting.

Those are just a couple of the ones I remember emptying.

There's not been a British BBC 2 channel since 1997 either, as it's called BBC Two, yet still some people haven't got that into their heads yet, after nearly 24 years.

They're like the people and companies who still refer to the English counties pre-1974, even though they don't exist anymore. They were replaced with ceremonial counties in 1972, which came into effect in 1974.

Now ITV the 66 year old company and network (which had the most watched channel on British TV for most of it's history, yet most people seem have forgotten, and still has the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 8th most watched channels today) is where British TV gets really confusing.

They run their channels practically exactly the same as the BBC with similar shows on at similar times to compete with each other, with the best shows being on the main ITV channel (just like BBC One), shows for teenagers and people in their twenties on ITV2 or ITVBe (just like BBC Three), children's shows on CITV (just like with CBBC and CBeebies although ITV's version of CBeebies is LittleBe, and is shown on ITVBe), with a lot of repeats and older shows on ITV3 and ITV4. They also have Scottish and Northern Irish versions, and have regional news shows just like the BBC.

However until 2004, they were even more distinct, as each of the 14 (technically 23+) ITV regions (formerly known as franchises) made their own shows, and each region showed even more different shows, at more "certain times" of the day, but again all on the same channel, the namesake third British channel ITV.

Those ITV regions have had literally 100's of names over the last 66 years, which is another thing which has been on my to do list for years... make a list of every the 100's of official names, official acronyms and unofficial names/acronyms over the last 66 years, including the film business names which most people don't realise ITV were in too.

When I eventually get around to doing that, I'll start looking for any duplicate current or former (95% current though, as 95% of them are the company we know today) ITV franchises on IMDB, which I'll then link on IMDB Pro

I'll then start of looking through bigger shows like dramas and sitcoms from the smaller ITV franchises who didn't produce much themselves, so I can get through them much quicker, and add ITV - Independent Television as a distributor to any where it's missing.

Obviously I'll double check first, as it was rare they made shows for other networks back then, but how will I know ITV - Independent Television is the distributor?

Because the ITV regions have never been independent channels.

They've always been shown on the 3rd British TV channel ITV (colloquially known as Channel 3), where the ITV network and ITV plc the company gets their name.

It's also partly why so many of ITV's shows are split up unnecessarily on IMDB as there's no way to tell whether:

  • ITV - Independent Television [gb] (Distributor) is the channel or network, or
  • Independent Television (ITV) [gb] (Distributor) is the channel or network.

As ITV is a brand name, which is never referred to as Independent Television, I always use the first one as the ITV network, contrary to "IMDB's guidelines," as they'd rarely be found by people searching for ITV's shows otherwise.

And if it's a show from the main ITV channel, I'll add the second one too.

If it isn't a show from the main ITV channel, then I'll add their respective channel along with the ITV network.

Plus on top the main ITV plc company, and STV which runs the Scottish versions, there's also ITV Studios which like BBC Studios owns countless production companies in the UK and around the world, which is why it's the biggest producer of unscripted shows in the USA, makes all the news for Channel 4 and Channel 5, a lot of the factual/reality shows for Channel 4 especially, and why BBC shows in the detective genre especially are nearly always made by ITV aka the Kings of the Detective genre.

It also distributes shows around the world, mainly for the BBC as I said above, in every form but TV channels as they finally closed their last international channel last year.

Think of the BBC and ITV like British versions of PBS and GBH, or more accurately PBS and GBH as a mixture of the BBC and ITV, as they're regional but publicly funded.

Network/company and channel are needed as distribution companies every time, along with the production companies which might or might not be regional.




9.6K Messages


232.5K Points

22 d ago

Hi Peter -


I have filed a request to modify the existing Help Guide to include further clarification on the company usage for TV Distributors.


As soon as I have an update on the request I will let you now here.