The BBC and Discovery are coming together with a landmark agreement that will include a development arrangement, a ten-year programming partnership, and the division of assets at UK broadcaster UKTV, according to Deadline.
The deal makes Discovery the exclusive SVOD home of BBC natural history with titles such as Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and Life and Dynasties. The agreement covers hours of library factual content as well. The content will power Discovery’s global streaming service, set to launch in 2020. This deal comes six years after the end of Discovery and the BBC’s previous partnership. The companies worked together on shows like Blue Planet and Frozen Planet, and the end of that partnership is what lead to BBC American becoming the BBC’s U.S. partner on many of its landmark natural history series.
BBC studios will pay £173M to Discovery for most of UKTV channels. Discovery is also set to receive at least £10m more from UKTV due to the the parties sharing the existing cash on the company’s balance sheet. Additionally, Discovery and BBC Studios have agreed to a short-term programming team to supply BBC’s lifestyle content to Discovery’s UKTV.
“As the two market leaders in landmark natural history and iconic factual programming, Tony and I look forward to working together again – our teams represent over 100 years of combined experience. Discovery will be taking that expertise and creating the definitive global streaming product for curious and passionate viewers of all generations who want the most trusted, family friendly storytelling in the world,” Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav said.
Discovery will also control lifestyle channels Good Food, Home and Really and will add it to its their portfolio of 16 channels in the UK. BBC Studios has acquired the other seven channels.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said “The BBC makes outstanding natural history and science programs. They are ground-breaking and demonstrate the quality and depth of our know-how. It is vital that we keep investing and growing them for the future. This is our largest ever content sales deal. It will mean BBC Studios and Discovery will work together to take our content right across the globe through a new world-beating streaming service.”