The BBC has announced that its longstanding co-production deal with the Discovery Channel is to end “by mutual agreement.”
The £150m partnership has produced a number of widely acclaimed shows, including such as Life, Frozen Planet, Blue Planet and Wonders Of The Solar System.
However, in June industry magazine Broadcast reported that Discovery wanted to end the deal because it believed the BBC was deriving the larger share of benefit from the deal.
In a statement, Bal Samra, BBC Commercial Director, says: “The BBC and Discovery have enjoyed a longstanding and successful relationship and although this phase of our partnership is now coming to an end, we look forward to working together on a number of projects in the future.
“Science and Natural History programmes have always been a core part of the BBC’s DNA and we have ambitious plans for the future, with an exciting range of new content in the pipeline. International demand for our content has never been higher and we continue to enjoy a collaborative and fruitful relationship with a wide range of co-producers.”
Discovery’s EVP, Production & Development, Landmark Series and Specials, Andrew Jackson comments: “As Discovery’s global audiences continue to flourish, they demand the very best science and natural history programming.
“This is taking us in exciting, new directions, creating these essential shows for numerous cutting-edge platforms. We look forward to working with the many talented production companies around the world, including the BBC, with whom we have enjoyed a long and successful relationship.”
Separately the BBC has announced that its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, “will make a major new investment in BBC factual content”.
The first wave of titles announced include the new landmarks One Planet, The Hunt, Wild Alaska, and 24 Hours on Earth which will be co-produced with BBC America and will premiere in the US on the channel.
The BBC’s two visions will also work together on a further seven titles: Oceans, Kangaroo Dundee, The Rains, Sleepover at the Zoo, Wild Japan, Wild Patagonia and Wild New Zealand.
All eleven titles will be distributed globally by BBC Worldwide.
Danny Cohen, Director of BBC Television said, “We have a shared vision with Worldwide to create world class factual content that will delight audiences at home – and also appeal to those across the globe.
“Commercial investment through BBC Worldwide and our network of production partners around the world will ensure that we continue to make ambitious genre-defining series that connect audiences from London to Tokyo with science, history and the wonders of the natural world.”
Tim Davie CEO, BBC Worldwide said, “Demand for our factual content has never been higher and this investment opens up opportunities to work with new partners worldwide to produce an exciting and varied slate of content that will appeal to everyone allowing us to bring BBC factual content to an even wider audience.”