The BBC has announced it will experiment with generative AI for the promotion of Doctor Who.


The broadcaster has announced it will be creating a human-written marketing copy for a Doctor Who push notification, email subject line and in the promotional rail on BBC search, before using generative AI to suggest alternative copy.

This will be reviewed and approved by the BBC’s marketing team before being shown to audiences, to promote the Whoniverse collection on iPlayer.

David Housden, Head of Media Inventory at the BBC said: "Experimentation is at the heart of how we approach marketing at the BBC. Testing and learning on how we let audiences know what BBC content is most relevant to them and we know they might love underpins our digital marketing strategy.

"However, experimentation in marketing typically requires more time spent on the creative work to make extra assets. Generative AI offers a great opportunity to speed up making the extra assets to get more experiments live for more content that we are trying to promote."

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Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who standing together by the control panel for the TARDIS
Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who. BBC Studios/James Pardon

He continued: "We’re going to take it one step a time, starting simple and learning as we go. We have chosen to start with Doctor Who, as it is a joint content priority for both BBC Public Service UK and BBC Studios marketing teams.

"There’s a rich variety of content in the Whoniverse collection on iPlayer to test and learn with, and Doctor Who thematically lends itself to AI, which is a bonus."

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The success of the AI generative copy “will be measured by click- rates, open-rates, and post-impression conversion-rates across each channel".

Doctor Who season 14 will debut on screens in May 2024 and follow the adventures of the Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa, and his companion Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson.

Gatwa made his debut as the 15th Doctor during the finale of Doctor Who's three-part 60th anniversary special back in December, before his era well and truly began in the Christmas special, The Church on Ruby Road, which also introduced audiences to Gibson.

While we don’t have any official plot details for the upcoming season, showrunner Russell T Davies has promised that we'll return to the church where Ruby was left as a baby, and that the mystery of who Anita Dobson's Mrs Flood is will be a "slow burn".

Doctor Who will return in May. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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