BBC-Discovery alliance finalized
After 18 months of negotiations, the long-rumored programming alliance between the BBC and Discovery Communications was finalized in March.
Discovery will pump over US$660 million into the BBC to develop co-productions to air on Discovery’s U.S. channels, to establish new channels around the world with the BBC, and to launch, market and distribute BBC America, a new cable service, in the United States. US$175 million will be spent during the first five years of the agreement to finance nonfiction co-productions to air on Discovery in the U.S. The BBC will offer Discovery first- look rights, and should Discovery pass, it can then seek co-production deals with other U.S. programming services. The BBC will retain all editorial control of these co-productions, as well as distribution rights worldwide.
Discovery will plow US$100 million into the launch of BBC America, which first aired on March 29. John Hendricks, chairman and CEO of Discovery Communications, projects that the channel will have 20 million to 25 million subscribers within two years.
Globally, the companies’ first joint international venture began last October, when they launched Animal Planet and People & Arts in Latin America.
Southern Star acquires Australia’s
SYDNEY: Some of Australia’s top programming will be distributed globally by Sydney’s Southern Star, thanks to a deal between Southern Star and Australia’s Nine Network. The broadcaster’s entire catalogue of children’s programming is included in the deal, which includes distribution options on all future production.
Market focuses on educational product
Reed Midem is adding another trade show to the already extensive list. The World Education Market, set to take place May 24 to 27, 2000, in Vancouver, Canada, will offer ‘the first commercial forum for public- and private-sector players from all areas of education,’ say organizers.
Organizers expect participants to include schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, adult continuing education and other educators, publishers and computer hardware and software companies.
Hungary for Nick and warming up to Iceland
Nickelodeon has announced that it has reached a deal with the Hungarian Broadcasting Corporation to create Hungary’s first daily full-service kids channel. As part of the agreement, Nickelodeon will oversee the creative direction of the channel, while the Hungarian Broadcasting Corporation will manage its advertising sales and distribution. Nickelodeon Hungary is set launch in the fall of this year.
Nick has also announced that it has teamed up with Banar‡sin, Iceland’s first kids channel, to bring a daily branded block of Nickelodeon shows to Icelandic children. Beginning in May, Banar‡sin will run one-and-a-half hours of Nick shows during the week, and five-and-a-half hours on the weekend. All of the programs will be offered in Icelandic.
GMTV continues overhaul
LONDON: The ITV Network’s breakfast-time broadcaster, GMTV, has acquired Mainframe/Alliance Entertainment’s 26-part 3-D computer animation series Beast Wars for transmission during school holidays.
Having screened the first two episodes over Easter, GMTV will next show a batch of episodes during the May break before rounding off the series over summer.
The move is the latest leg in a major overhaul of GMTV’s children’s programming. Having pulled out of kids shows on weekdays, it is concentrating on consolidating its lead on weekends and during holidays. Last month, it introduced a new Saturday morning magazine slot called ‘Diggit,’ which features acquired animated series such as Recess and Timon & Pumbaa.