YouTube (now owned by Google) and BBC struck a deal that would soon allow the former to provide clips from the latter. Special channels will be created on YouTube that you can watch the content through, providing many popular BBC shows such as Top Gear and Doctor Who.
But this move is not surprising, given the fact that many TV providers have been offering their shows on YouTube, such the NBA highlights. Many people prefer video-on-demand to live streaming video over the web, so that is basically the reason why the deal went the route it did. However, I would not be shocked to find out sometime, in the not-too-distant future that YouTube will offer live streaming content from some providers.
So what does BBC get out of the deal, since the videos are going to be free-to-watch? Well, the content will be sponsored by YouTube's banner ads which run while you watch videos. This means that the videos will be free to watch. YouTube gets the added traffic of viewers of popular BBC shows.
BBC currently offers video shows available from their website, however given the popularity and ease-of-use of YouTube, it looks like YouTube is going to be BBC's primary means of broadcasting its content over the internet. Another interesting fact that you may have already been aware of is that much of BBC's (and other major TV shows) are already broadcast on YouTube simply from user submissions. However, it's nice to get the content from an official provider for a change.
Because of Google's aquisition of YouTube, does this mean we can expect BBC content on Google Video eventually? I expect some sort of merging of the two technologies anyway, so as to create a more unified interface. Nevertheless, I'd be happy to have BBC on YouTube or Google Video, both of which are extremely high quality media players. Looks like a win-win situation for BBC and YouTube.