Discovery to Launch Streaming Service with BBC Content

Discovery and BBC Studio reached a series of agreements, including one that will create a new global streaming subscription video-on-demand service based on BBC factual programming.

The deal was described by the companies as a multi-million pound global content partnership.

Discovery acquired streaming rights for all markets outside the U.K., Ireland and China to classic BBC natural history series such as Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Life and Dynasties, as well as future BBC-commission series after their linear telecasts. It also acquired SVOD rights to hundreds of hours of other BBC factual programming.

That programming will be the basis of a streaming video service that is expected to launch in 2020. The service will also include top shows from Discovery’s portfolio as well as shows created for the service. Discovery said the service will also have offerings that “go well beyond video.”

“Our teams represent over 100 years of combined experience,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav. “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 and BBC Studios also have a development deal to create new factual content for Discovery for both linear and digital distribution.The two companies will co-fund a development team within BBC Studios.

Discovery and BBC Studio also made a deal undoing their joint ownership of UKTV channels.

Under that deal, Discovery will take full ownership of UKTV’s lifestyle channels--Good Food, Home and Really--and BBC Studios will own the seven UKTV entertainment channels--Alibi Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W.

Discovery will receive payments of $225.4 million from BBC Studios. It will also receive at least an additional $13 million from UKTV. The company’s have agreed to a short-term program licencing agreement. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.