Technicolor Signs Distribution Deal with NBCU

Thomson unit Technicolor signed a deal to manage the distribution of NBC Universal’s international channels and also acquired NBCU’s broadcast-distribution center in Denver, the company announced Wednesday.

Financial terms of the long-term agreement were not disclosed.

NBCU’s decision to sell the Denver distribution facility and outsource the management of 31 cable channels, including 19 Hallmark International channels, came less than one year after it acquired the facility as part of an estimated $350 million deal for Sparrowhawk Holdings.

Private-equity backed Sparrowhawk owned the international versions of Hallmark Channel and overseas rights to the former Crown Media/Hallmark programming library.

For Technicolor -- best-known for its film-processing and distribution businesses -- the NBCU deal gives its growing network-services business, which already operates facilities in Europe and Asia, a major presence in the United States.

Under the long-term services contract with NBCU, Technicolor will manage the preparation and international distribution of a total of 31 NBCU channels, of which 19 will be managed from the Denver facility. The rest will be managed from existing Technicolor facilities in London, Paris and Singapore.

In total, Technicolor will manage the preparation and distribution of 23 channels out of the Denver facility, including the 19 Hallmark International channels owned by NBCU throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America; the East and West coast feeds of Hallmark Channel in the United States, which are owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings; and the two Altitude Sports Network channels, a regional cable-TV sports network operated by KSE Media Ventures.

"We look forward to drawing on the combined expertise of Thomson and the experienced team in Denver," NBCU executive vice president for media-distribution services Ian Trombley said in a statement. "This expanded relationship will play a significant part in supporting NBC Universal Global Networks' international growth plans for programming and channels."