BBC takes control of UKTV

The BBC has taken control of UK TV, buying Foxtel’s remaining 60 per cent stake and the production company FremantleMedia’s 20 per cent for an undisclosed sum.

The BBC will add Children’s channel, CBeebies, by mid 2009. Such a move could potentially putting it in direct competition with ABC3 if that should ever eventuate. Foxtel will also roll out a new documentary channel, BBC Knowledge.

Last weekend BBC documentary channels were launched as part of the HD+ announcement and BBC World News channel already airs.

Foxtel’s Kim Williams, said the deal represented for the Australian pay-TV provider “one of the major movements in channel partnerships” in the past four years. CBeebies would be the first ad-free offering on Foxtel’s platform, he said.

BBC Worldwide’s chief, Darren Childs, said the broadcaster would work with Australian producers to find local hosts for its children’s shows, and create an advisers’ council of experts in preschool education. The deal will have no implications for the BBC’s existing contracts with free-to-air broadcasters including the ABC.

“Having five channels will allow us to showcase the breadth and depth of BBC programmes, in many cases for the first time, to Australian audiences. In addition, we will continue to seek new opportunities for future growth in this region,” he said.

Digital Spy


  1. It is more likely that UKTV would be rebranded “BBC Entertainment” Channel as that is its portfolio of channels worldwide. (BBC Entertainment , BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies, BBC World News) I really fear this will be the end for ITV programmes and all UK soaps. Every BBC Entertainment Channel has dropped Corrie, Eastenders and Casualty in favour of programming its highest rated big brand programmes like repeats of Top Gear and Torchwood. Lets face it – the soaps have less than 20,000 viewers (Eastenders 24,000) The BBC would hardly care if they upset those viewers. Its going to happen its only a matter of time.

  2. Rebranding UKTV may be a smart move on paper, but it could lose viewers if the BBC decides to cut the ITV (Coronation St,Emmerdale etc) content from UKTV.

  3. zell, the output deals are remaining as they are apparently, I wouldnt be to concerned, BBC America in the USA (obviously) shows ITV Programs also.

  4. Id like to see them re-brand UKTV to BBC Australia I think, like they have with BBC America..not sure it will happen but it would be good

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