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American gets recruited for Euro content

John Raczka, senior VP of content, British Telecom

In the fast-growing Webcasting arena, content is king. And nobody has as much universally appealing content as the U.S.

That’s an important reason why John Raczka, an American with experience snaring product licenses for groups such as Hanna-Barbera, Turner and Sony, found himself recruited a year ago by British Telecom’s Internet division, at which he is senior VP in charge of content. His job: oversee content development for BT’s consumer portals: narrowband, broadband, WAP and soon broadband-to-TV.

Deals to debut the Sundance Channel, Showtime programs and House of Blues concerts when BT puts its broadband services on U.K. televisions within the next 18 months show his deft touch in signing transatlantic contracts.

BTOpenWorld, as the broadband unit is known, plans to have 21 channels of content in its move to delivering film and video-on-demand to subscribers.

But Raczka also has got an eye out for content from other countries — especially product that homes in on the interactive potential of Webcasting while plumbing the “regional-centric” opportunities emerging.

“I’m seeing, more and more, the traditional TV production companies stepping up to the plate with content and budgets and ideas of how they’re going to take advantage of the merged platforms,” he says.

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