Graham Norton trails behind Jimmy Kimmel in his online audience, says Google chief

Google's head in Europe says BBC must do more to reach worldwide audience

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The Independent Culture

The head of Google in Europe has made a disparaging comparison between the online audiences of BBC1's Graham Norton and the American chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, saying BBC television needs to do far more to reach a worldwide audience.

Matt Brittin said: "If I contrast Graham Norton with Kimmel, Kimmel has got 6.2 million [YouTube] subscribers and Graham Norton has got 260,000. Graham Norton is doing two or three [uploaded video] clips per show, Kimmel is doing five to ten."

Brittin, a Briton who is Google's President in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, cited Kimmel and fellow American chat show host Ellen DeGeneres as role models for British presenters in building a global following online.

He called on the BBC to "be the spearhead" for the British television industry in "fishing where the fish are" and being less parochial. "I worry a bit about the UK," he said. "You are all talking about the UK and the BBC, fine, but what about talking about the fact there's going to be 5 billion people within five years who can access your content?"

He invited delegates at the Edinburgh international Television Festival to consider the impact of the BBC iPlayer if it "had been built as an open platform" with global access. And he compared ITV's lack of an international digital strategy with the German media company Bertelsmann. "Even the Germans are ahead of us," said Brittin, a former British Olympic rower. He said ITV should be looking to compete with online content giant Netflix. "That would seem to be a good idea."

He praised BBC Radio1 as a media brand that has successfully embraced YouTube, amassing 2 million subscribers and a daily YouTube audience of over 1 million. "It's ironic isn it that it's an audio brand that is doing the best?"

Kimmel's online hits

An April Fool's prank in which singer Rihanna sneaked into the ABC host's bedroom and woke him with a live performance, in which she showered him in bank notes and jumped on his bed, has had 15 million viewers.

A clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live where the host fronted a spoof version of game show Family Feud featuring stars from film The Avengers, including Robert Downie Junior, has had 10 million views.

More than 9m watched a clip of a "Celebrity Curse Off" Kimmel arranged last November between Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow.

Kimmel presents a Mean Tweets segment in which celebrities read out negative comments about themselves made on Twitter. Barack Obama's clip, from November, has been seen 29 million times.

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