Corporate Press Release
BBC and Discovery Communications Announce New Partnership and BBC Worldwide Sells Its Interest in Joint Venture to Discovery
(London and Silver Spring, Md.) The BBC and Discovery Communications today announced a new agreement extending their long term North American co-production partnership.
Under the new agreement, the BBC and Discovery are extending their long-standing strategic programming relationship for co-productions and programme acquisitions for North America by two years to 2014. This partnership has produced widely acclaimed global programming events such as LIFE, Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Wonders of the Solar System.
"This new co-production agreement continues a tradition of developing world class global hits such as Planet Earth and Life that began 25 years ago when Discovery launched in the US," said Mark Hollinger, President and CEO of Discovery Networks International.
Director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett, says: "This extended deal with Discovery enables us to continue producing the most ambitious and creative landmark factual programming for viewers until 2014 and provides exceptional value for licence fee payers. It will enable us to build on some of the natural history and specialist factual co-productions we already have planned, such as David Attenborough's epic series about the cycle of seasons, Frozen Planet, for 2011."
In addition, BBC Worldwide is selling to Discovery its 50 percent interest in the global TV channels joint venture Animal Planet and Liv for $156m. Following the exit of this joint venture, BBC Worldwide will concentrate on the expansion of its wholly owned channel brands, which include BBC America, BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, BBC HD and CBeebies, which reach 107m subscribers in over 100 countries.
"The launch and growth of BBC-branded international channels is an important strategic priority for BBC Worldwide and the sale of the 50% interest in Animal Planet and Liv will enable us to bring increased focus to these fast-growing channels, and to progress a number of other strategic priorities" said John Smith, Chief Executive Officer, BBC Worldwide. "The sale is also consistent with the BBC Trust review of BBC Worldwide which was published in November 2009."
Commenting on the sale by BBC Worldwide to Discovery of Animal Planet and Liv, Mark Hollinger added, "Acquiring BBC Worldwide's rights to the Animal Planet and Liv channel brands provides Discovery a strategic opportunity to create additional revenue and growth opportunities for our global business."
Animal Planet is a global channel brand reaching nearly 250 million cumulative subscribers in more than 170 markets across Europe, Asia and Latin America. Liv is a general entertainment channel brand reaching 24 million cumulative subscribers in 33 Latin American markets.
About BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC's assets for the benefit of the licence fee payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has six core businesses: Channels, Content & Production, Sales & Distribution, BBC Magazines, Home Entertainment and Global Brands. In 2009/10, BBC Worldwide generated profits of £145 million (operating profit before specific items) on sales of £1074 million (including Group revenue and the Group's share of joint-ventures' revenue).
BBC Worldwide was awarded with the Queen's Award for Enterprise in April 2009. This prestigious award for International Trade recognised the company's substantial growth in overseas earnings and its commercial success at outstanding levels, based on 3 years' trading results, which benefit the UK creative industries and ultimately the licence fee payer.
For more information please visit www.bbcworldwide.com.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 180 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. In the UK, Discovery has13 channel brands. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.