The Beeb says it will plough the money into its own channels, including BBC America. It wants to concentrate on its own channels exclusively as opposed to running 50% of Animal Planet and Liv, the Latin American entertainment channel. It’s not as if BBC Worldwide, the broadcaster’s for-profit arm, is getting out of channels that are failing. Ratings for Animal Planet, which reaches 250 million homes, are up year-to-date. Discovery Communications reported improved 3rd quarter financials at the beginning of this month, driven by US advertising growth of 16% and 23% internationally. For the full year 2010, Discovery expects to make a profit of $650-700 million on revenue of $3.8 billion. And the BBC has extended its co-production and acquisitions partnership with Discovery for 2 more years, to 2014. Rather, it’s been told to sell its stakes in non-branded BBC channels by oversight body the BBC Trust. It’s been a victim of its own success, media analyst Kate Bulkley tells me. “There have been calls that Worldwide tips the playing field in its favour because it controls such important BBC content assets and wields the world-recognised BBC brand,” she says.
But Discovery and the BBC may find themselves sharing some more channels very soon. Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks are vying to become BBC Worldwide’s new partner in UKTV, the broadcaster behind UK digital channels Dave, Watch and Gold, it has emerged. Virgin Media wants to sell its 50% share of UKTV.
Deadline reported that Fox is acquiring U.S. distribution rights and several international territories to the 3D movie version of BBC Worldwide’s Walking With Dinosaurs. The $65 million budget CG/live-action family film is a co-production between BBC Earth – the BBC’s new label which sells branded programming blocks to TV networks around the world — and India’s Reliance Big Pictures.