Jana Bennett unveils plans for BBC Earth Channel and Lonely Planet blocks

BBC Worldwide’s Jana Bennett will unveil plans later today to launch a full-fledged natural history channel, BBC Earth, and programming blocks using its Lonely Planet brand.

Bennett announced she was leaving the main BBC corporation to become president, worldwide networks and global iPlayer, at its commercial division, BBC Worldwide, late last year

Speaking at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada later today she will announce the new channel and blocks as well as plans for Worldwide to broadcast more ‘global viewing events’ starting with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. There will also be more original programming from Worldwide, commissioned from UK and international producers.

BBC Earth will launch as a standalone entity following the success of BBC Earth blocks on some of Worldwide’s BBC Knowledge channels.

There will also be a new premium HD channel in some, unspecified, territories and a localised BBC HD channel in Latin America, which will roll out within a year.

Finally, Bennett will confirm plans for an international version of BBC catch-up service iPlayer. A pilot service will launch as an app on Apple’s iPad device initially in Western European territories.

“Whilst it won’t happen overnight, our ambition is to present a timeless mix of classic and contemporary UK creativity, showcasing the best of British content from the 1950s to the present day,” Bennett plans to say. “Vintage British creativity but fresh and for the future.”