BBC Worldwide has for the first time begun offering direct access via the internet to moving image clips from the BBC and CBS News archives.
The video will be made available through a BBC Motion Gallery website featuring a core collection of some 10,000 moving images from which media professionals can search and license clips for a wide variety of uses from corporate videos, new media, advertising, TV and feature films.
Rupert Gavin, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said in a statement: "It's crucial that we maximise the value of the BBC archive and by using digital technology we will open up our business to its full potential.
"The overall global market in archive footage is estimated to be worth around £150m per annum and our new service will give us a bigger foothold in this very important market."
The online platform will be the commercial gateway to the vast range of the BBC and CBS News archive. According to the BBC, the site represents just "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of size and scope, and its content will be constantly updated.
The first stage of the website development gives customers the opportunity, for the first time, to view moving images from the BBC archive. More functionality will be added over time to provide further features, the corporation said.
"The demand for motion imagery is forecast to grow substantially over the next decade as the expansion of broadband and third-generation telephony opens up an increasing number of media outlets," added BBC Motion Gallery managing director Simon Gibbs in a statement.
The BBC archive houses some 500 million feet of film and 350,000 hours of video dating from 1934, with more than 200 hours of new content added every week.
The collection spans all genres, from news, natural history and wildlife, to locations, science, technology, the performing arts and more. The archive offers an abundance of original programming such as Top of the Pops, The Office, Walking with Dinosaurs and The Blue Planet.
The archive also contains more than 700,000 hours of US and international film and video imagery from CBS News archive.
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